DUPONT — Sal Alaimo remembers exactly where he was on Dec. 7, 1941 — the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Yatesville resident said he was 15 years old and heard about the news on the radio, but it wasn’t until the next day he understood the significance of the tragic event.
“I didn’t believe what was going on,” he said. “I was a young kid.”
Alaimo enlisted in the military when he turned 17 and served overseas in World War II for 2 1/2 years, and said he still lives in disbelief that was he part of something so significant in history.
“I was part of it,” he said. “To me, I was part of this thing that did happen in this world, something to me that was unbelievable. I was part of it.”
Not only was Alaimo part of history, he was part of remembering it as the Dupont VFW Post 4909 and AMVETS Post 189 held its annual Pearl Harbor Day Ceremonies at the VFW.
The event featured members and speakers from both organizations as well as the AMVETS Post 189 Ladies Auxiliary, Dupont VFW Post 4909 Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of AMVETS, and borough Mayor Dan Lello.
The event also featured the honor guards from the VFW and AMVETS, who fired rifle shots into the air at the conclusion of the ceremony.
According to Bernie McDonald, commander of the AMVETS Post 189, the Pearl Harbor ceremony in the borough has been a tradition for 30 years.
“It’s part of a staple in this community to do it,” he said. “To show our support and respect for those veterans at that particular time means a lot to our community, and our community reacts the way we react as veterans. With our positive outlook as veterans and doing the things we do, our community acts the same way. So, having the support from our community keeps us doing the things we’re doing.”
While attendance at the event featured several members of the community, McDonald said he hopes to see members of the younger generations attend in the future, and for younger veterans to become members of the organizations.
“The younger generation is just not here like we need them to be,” he said. “We speak to them, and we recruit them, but they want to do things on their own, so to speak. They don’t want to be around older gentlemen. At the rate it’s declining, if we lose one, we have to recruit two. The numbers just aren’t there to do it, but we’re trying. It’s just a reality and a fact.”
Lello agreed with McDonald in that more people should come out and support their veterans, and he’s currently looking into sending out mobile news alerts to inform citizens of events.
In the meantime, Lello, a Vietnam War veteran, was happy to be at the ceremony and to support his fellow vets.
“I think it was great to honor all veterans, not just the Pearl Harbor veterans, but everyone who put themselves in harm’s way,” he said.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher