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West Haven News

Posted on: December 7, 2021

Pearl Harbor remembered at solemn Bradley Point tribute

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PHOTO — West Haven Mayor Nancy R. Rossi delivers poignant remarks commemorating Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and the 80th anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during an observance on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Looking on is Louis P. Esposito Jr., Rossi’s executive assistant and the master of ceremonies. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

WEST HAVEN, Dec. 7, 2021 — The city and the West Haven Veterans Council commemorated Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Before a gathering of veterans, city officials and residents, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi delivered poignant remarks honoring the American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice 80 years ago during Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

On Dec. 7, 1941, just before 8 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time, a swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes descended on the island of Oahu and bombed the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,335 service members and 68 civilians.

“This event would launch the neutral United States into action during World War II,” said Rossi, speaking in front of a black granite memorial in honor of World War II Army Pfc. William A. Soderman, who received the Medal of Honor after distinguishing himself in December 1944 while defending an important road junction near Rocherath, Belgium.

“The men and women who lived during this tumultuous time would become known as the greatest generation,” Rossi said. “As time passes, events, such as the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor, seem to drift into the historic domain. It is essential that we recognize the valor of our brave servicemen and -women who prevented tyranny.”

The solemn service featured a presentation of the colors by the West Haven Police Honor Guard, and Louis P. Esposito Jr., Rossi’s executive assistant, served as the master of ceremonies.

Representing the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Florence Stoeber, the wife of the late Jack Stoeber, a Navy veteran of Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima who was a regular at West Haven’s Pearl Harbor rites for many years, read the names of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died at Pearl Harbor. Firefighter Tony Mancini tolled the West Haven Fire Department’s chrome bell each instant a name was called.

Stoeber, whose ashes were scattered in Pearl Harbor after he died Jan. 16, 2016, at age 97, was a .50-caliber machine-gunner aboard the destroyer tender USS Whitney in the Pacific theater of World War II.

“We also honor the 18 military lives from Connecticut that were lost on Dec. 7, 1941,” Rossi said. “Their sacrifices, like all of our veterans’ sacrifices, will never be forgotten. We recognize these brave servicemen and -women’s contribution toward reconciliation and how that peace continues to create a brighter future for us all.”

Floyd Welch, Connecticut’s last known Pearl Harbor survivor, died Aug. 17, 2000, at age 99. Welch, of East Lyme, served aboard the battleship USS Maryland and helped save many lives aboard the bombarded battleship USS Oklahoma.

In observance of Pearl Harbor Day, Veterans Council President Dave Ricci led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and Vice President Steve Carney and member Rick Foley laid a wreath at the base of the William A. Soderman Memorial.

The ceremony included a procession of West Haven fire chiefs and officers and a flag-raising by the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard — composed of members of the West Haven Fire Department, the West Shore Fire Department and the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown.

It also included the national anthem sung by Nora E. Mullins, opening and closing prayers given by Councilman Victor M. Borras, D-8, and taps played by former West Shore Lt. Kevin McKeon.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 2021 040 II (Small)

West Haven Mayor Nancy R. Rossi delivers poignant remarks commemorating Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and the 80th anniversary of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during an observance on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Looking on is Louis P. Esposito Jr., Rossi’s executive assistant and the master of ceremonies. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Representing the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Florence Stoeber, the wife of the late Jack Stoeber, a Navy veteran of Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima, reads the names of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Looking on is Louis P. Esposito Jr., Rossi’s executive assistant and the master of ceremonies. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Firefighter Tony Mancini rings the West Haven Fire Department’s chrome bell 18 times in honor of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died in the Japanese bombing of the U.S. Navy base on Oahu, Hawaii. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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The West Haven Police Honor Guard leads the opening procession. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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The West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard carries the American flag to the William A. Soderman Memorial Flagpole for the ceremonial raising. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Members of the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard raise the Stars and Stripes. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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West Haven Veterans Council President Dave Ricci leads the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Nora E. Mullins sings “The Star-Spangled Banner.” (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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The West Haven Police Honor Guard presents the colors as Nora E. Mullins sings the national anthem. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Councilman Victor M. Borras, D-8, gives the invocation. Looking on is Louis P. Esposito Jr., Rossi’s executive assistant and the master of ceremonies. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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West Haven fire chiefs and officers stand at attention. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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West Haven Veterans Council Vice President Steve Carney, front, and member Rick Foley lay a wreath at the base of the William A. Soderman Memorial. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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Former West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon plays taps. (City Photo/Michael P. Walsh)

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