Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth was the featured speaker.
Ruth is a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran. He has also served in the National Guard.
He said he gets emotional when he watches movies about wartime.
“I get sort of choked up. I have a lot of pride in our veterans and what they have done,” Ruth said.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese planes completed a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. According to Ruth, 2,400 military personnel were killed in the attack.
He said as the community took time to remember the events of that day, he was reminded of what military personnel went through on that day.
“The price was high,” Ruth said.
Heroism was shown on that day.
“I’m sure there were some who had never been in combat before, but they had to rise above that and do what needed to be done,” Ruth said. “Many of what I will call ‘America’s Best’ never made it home that day.”
The attacks on Pearl Harbor brought the United States of America into World War II. While many in Japan underestimated the might of the U.S., according to Ruth, one man, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto did have some concerns about repercussions from the attack.
United States’ involvement in campaigns on both European and Pacific fronts played a vital role in ending the war.
For the past eight years or so, the local VFW has made a point to remember the day with a ceremony.
Ruth emphasized that such ceremonies are important to remind people and to tell children what happened and the sacrifices that were made.
VFW Post 2598 Commander Jimmy Johnson said the 18 to 25-year-olds serving in the U.S. military at the time of the Pearl Harbor attacks and subsequent battles changed the world.
“I would like to thank everyone for remembering today — remembering Pearl Harbor,” Johnson said.
He said in Bradley County there are many veterans still serving their country by serving their community.
He stressed being vigilant as a nation to potential threats was important.
“We can’t fall asleep as a nation,” Johnson said.
Local resident and Pearl Harbor survivor George Allen was also recognized during the ceremony.
The ceremony closed with a military rifle salute and the playing of “Taps.”
The VFW organization was started in 1899 primarily by veterans of the Spanish-American War. The organization was formed to secure rights and benefits for veterans. Up until that point the united States had no guaranteed benefits for war veterans.
Ruth said current VFW members should be proud of what the organization has accomplished in that time.
“Because of the VFW, the country will continue to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep this country free,” Ruth said.