Port City honors lives lost in Pearl Harbor attacks 81 years later

Across the Cape Fear, people gathered Wednesday to remember the more than 2,400 lives lost in the attacks on Pearl Harbor 81 years ago.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:36 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Across the Cape Fear, people gathered Wednesday to remember the more than 2,400 lives lost in the attacks on Pearl Harbor 81 years ago.

The bombings in 1941 launched the United States into World War II. It’s believed at least three Wilmington residents were among those killed.

Now, 81 years later, the Port City continues to commemorate the day through long-standing and new traditions.

Community members gathered at Wilmington’s Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center for the annual Pearl Harbor commemoration ceremony Wednesday. That event included remarks from veterans and local leaders.

“To have this commemoration to continue to tell people the history of World War II and how we got into World War II I think is extremely important and as this generation continues to pass on, it’s important that we keep that history alive and we share that history with our younger generations,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

Meanwhile, across the Cape Fear River, multiple events took place on the Battleship North Carolina. Amateur radio operators set up inside the ship to contact crews across the world in commemoration of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

On the ship’s main deck, staff and volunteers hung more than 200 wreaths decorated with personalized cards to honor and memorialize active-duty military members and veterans.

For Karen Marzilli, a Battleship North Carolina board member, the day was meaningful as her father had served aboard the battleship. She also has two sons currently serving in the military.

“Knowing my dad served aboard the ship as a marine and went on the landing force into Japan, it’s an honor in trying to keep the memory alive of our ship and all that served aboard her and all that died in the service of our great country,” Marzilli said.

And for 97-year-old World War II Veteran Louis Bourgault, keeping that memory alive means using his experiences to educate the next generation. He continues to be an active volunteer at the Battleship.

“Being able to be here, be a part of the past and be here in the future and help these other people memorialize the people who served with me, it was a long time ago but I’m glad that I can help bring history back today,” Bourgault said.