Veterans memorialize attack

When the national Pearl Harbor Association disbanded a couple years ago, it hit Logan's Bobby Casados hard. Casados, a veteran active in Logan American Legion Post 77, took matters into his own hands.

Howard Robertson tells one of his World War II stories as Bobby Casados looks on.

On Friday, the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Casados saw his dedication pay off at the Legion Post. Attention turned at mid-day to remembering the attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet that thrust the U.S. into World War II, described by president Franklin Roosevelt as "a day that will live in infamy" as he announced the nation's declaration of war the next day.

About 50 Logan area residents, including four World War II veterans, some accompanied by four and five generations of their families, gathered to Post 77 to pay tribute to the military veterans, living and dead, who served in World War II. There were prayers and the Legion post lowered its flags to half-mast in mourning.

Then there were ceremonies, speecches, poetry and a slide show to honor living veterans of World War II from the Logan area. Leonard Bartlett and Howard Robertson, both Navy veterans who served in the Pacific during the war, told stories of harrowing escapes from enemy fire.

Robertson, now 88, also told of his acquaintance with Ernie Pyle, one of the best-loved of World War II's news correspondents, and of going AWOL to see his brother who unexpectedly arrived at the same port, from his ship docked in Japan. Somehow he got off the ship and back without being detected.

Robertson's reminiscences were witnessed by four generations of his family, including his great-great granddaughters Brook and Hailee. Eloy Arguello, who served in the Army Air Corps, brought in five generations of his family, the youngest his great-great-granddaughter Elexus Aguilera, who is 3.

The often solemn ceremonies and remembrances were held in a meeting room amid holiday lights and decorations. Pictures of the veterans were hung from strands of icicle lights, next to a Christmas stocking. It served as a reminder of how quickly things can change, a lesson not to be forgotten in Logan.

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