Friday marked 77 years since Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japanese warplanes. Sue Gillespie's father was a 19-year-old sailor when the attack happened. On Friday, she was part of the ceremony remembering those who died at Pearl Harbor during the attack, as well as those who fought in World War II.

"He was a radioman attached to Admiral Kimmel's staff and he was off duty and heard all of the chaos, saw it, witnessed it. Through training and his temperament he ran back and at the radio station he was handed the message and it went out to all of the ships and it was, "This is no drill, pearl harbor is being bombed, this is no drill," Sue Gillespie, Air Force Veteran

Her father's name was Edward Chlapowski. Gillespie explained that every time December 7th came around, it was always a tough day for her father.

"For a long time, he didn't even talk about it. But, once the Pearl Harbor Veterans' Association was formed in Montana, they would talk amongst themselves. And then, they started to tell stories and just relate that day."

Chlapowski rests with over 200 other World War II veterans buried at Yellowstone National Cemetery.  Matthew Lurker, an Air Force veteran and Laurel's Chief Administrative Officer said, "To have someone, who sounded the alarm to call for help, here, is amazing. And hopefully we can continue to grow with that with the new generation."

The generation including World War II veterans is considered the greatest. Lurker considers them not just the greatest generation but the ultimate generation. "They sacrificed everything, including their own lives to preserve what we have in our nation and what we've spread to other nations as well."

In August 1994, Congress made December 7th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. For Gillespie and Lurker, it's the history of December 7, 1941 that they, along with many others, hope younger generations will continue to remember.

Gillespie explained, "For the coming generations, I think they need to know that those people fought hard for everything we have today. And that we need to remember that and we need to go out and learn history, teach history to our younger people, and also teach them how the government works."

Matthew Lurker added, "As we've distanced ourselves in time, away from that, the younger generation, they haven't had to fight for their freedom, they've been given their freedom. With younger generations they forget and if we can continue to remind them through education and through events like this, that will help preserve what America is and the future and our values and really, create a better nation."

KULR-8 / SWX Reporter

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