Service at Veterans Memorial Garden marks Pearl Harbor attack

December 08, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

About 30 people stood among the soft luminaria that flickered along the steps of the Veterans Memorial Garden in Westminster last night and paid homage to those who died 52 years ago at Pearl Harbor.

"I was 8 years old when I heard about the bombing and I worried my older brothers would have to go," said Jean DeGroff of Westminster. "They went to Normandy Beach and Italy, but they all came home. I came tonight to show my appreciation."

Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown said remembering "is our duty. Our reward is to live in the greatest country on Earth."

Ferman Helmstetter wished more people had joined the memorial service, which the mayor has organized annually since 1988.

"People died there so we could stand here," Mr. Helmstetter said.

Norman Waltz, who attends the service every year, recalled his own combat years.

He entered the service on his 17th birthday at the height of World War II and remained in the Navy through the Korean War.

"I come because the mayor has a great interest in veterans in our county and in memory of all the friends I lost in the war," he said.

Matthew Haines, 9, examined the memorial stone honoring the 150 Carroll County veterans who died in the nation's wars and searched for familiar names.

"He heard about the service on the radio and he wanted to come," said Melanie Haines, the child's mother.

Frank Spence, a Navy veteran who saw combat in the Pacific, said honoring those who gave their lives is "a patriotic duty."

He and his wife, Betty, also have traveled to Pearl Harbor twice.

Marla Frazier came out of respect for her 75-year-old father, William Frazier, who survived the Japanese attack.

"He remembers it all: the bombs, the Arizona, rescues and lots of friends lost," she said.

Mayor Brown spoke of the difficulties those who never experienced combat had in speaking of the soldiers and their sacrifices.

"The Bible is filled with stories of evil loosed in the world and the men and women called to combat that evil," he said. "Americans were called forth to deal with that evil."

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