Remembering Pearl Harbor

Jerry Grooms, the Commander of American Legion Post 6 in Clanton, stands next to the wreath that was placed as part of a remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack on Wednesday. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Jerry Grooms, the Commander of American Legion Post 6 in Clanton, stands next to the wreath that was placed as part of a remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack on Wednesday. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

A major part of American history was remembered on Wednesday, which marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing at Pearl Harbor.

Years later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was right when he said that it would be “a date which will live in infamy,” during a speech shortly after the attack took place.

Chilton County did its part in paying tribute by placing a new wreath at the memorial monument in front of the courthouse in downtown Clanton.

It replaced the wreath that had last been placed during the annual Memorial Day ceremony.

The names of three soldiers from the county are on the monument that lost their life at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Johnny Broadhead, Samuel E. Johnson and Howard Penton each paid the ultimate sacrifice that day.

Their deaths marked the first casualties from Chilton County during World War II.

Johnson was the Chief Senior Medical Officer aboard the U.S.S. Arizona, which sank and remains memorialized in the harbor.

Lally Bates was 10 years old when the attacks occurred, but remembers listening to the news on the radio.

“All five of my older brothers were in the military and overseas at the same time during the war,” Bates said. “I remember the worry that my parents had.”

Bates got to know Johnson’s wife years later, as she continued to live in Clanton.

According to Bates, the couple had been building a new house prior to the attack. Due to his death, Johnson was never able to live in it.

Bates was a member of the group that oversaw the building of the memorial monument at the courthouse in 1986 and has been a member of the American Legion for 63 years.

“I grew up in a very patriotic family, and I want to be remembered as a patriotic person,” Bates said. “Any chance I get to help remember our veterans, I will do it.”

 

 

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