WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - 79 years to the day, service members, veterans, and everyday citizens honor those lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“It’s a time to remember what happened to get us into World War II and it’s a time to remember the people who lost their lives,” David Coleman, a former Navy officer of 21 years, said. “It really makes you stop and appreciate what the generations before us did to preserve our freedom, literally.”
Coleman’s service took him all around the world, even spending three years stationed in Pearl Harbor. For him, Remembrance Day is to honor those who served our country, and carry on their legacy and memories.
“You could see the number of people getting smaller and smaller and it is sad to see those individuals being lost and all of the stories they have to tell,” Coleman said.
For Bowie resident Patrick Walters, today brings closure.
“I went out to the cemetery this morning and put a fresh flag on the grave,” Walters said.
In 1941, his uncle Bethel died in the attack. The sailor’s remains - like countless others - went unidentifiable for decades. That is until last year, thanks to a DNA sample provided by Patrick to the Navy. In March, Fireman First Class Bethel Walters made is final journey from Hawaii, accompanied by Patrick, back to Texas. He is now buried next to his mother in Bowie.
“Our whole family now is like we’ve just had calming with this closure, it’s just peaceful now,” Walters said.
“Anytime you see a veteran wearing a Vietnam hat or World War Two hat or any kind of military hat, take a moment as you pass them just to tell them thank you,” Walters said. “They’ll really appreciate it.”