Ira “Ike” Schab went back to Pearl Harbor to honor the almost 2,300 troops who lost their lives there eighty-two years after the attack. A memorial ceremony was held to commemorate the assault that precipitated the United States’ entry into World War II.
Reports show the aging pool of Pearl Harbor survivors is decreasing, with only 102-year-old Lou Conter from the USS Arizona still living.
At the 80th anniversary memorial service two years ago, the ages of the survivors were 97–103.
Pearl Harbor’s education, interpretation, and tourism chief for the National Park Service, David Kilton, made the observation that survivors often offered to speak to tourists about their experiences. As the generation begins to dwindle, it is a fitting time to remember the ones who came before us and the tales they told.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that out of the 16 million who served in World War II, only 120,000 were alive as of October, with an estimated 131 passing away daily.
There were around 87,000 military personnel on Oahu at the time of the attack. Veteran Michael Schab has been sharing his story with family, student groups, and history buffs to pay honor to the people who didn’t make it. A ceremony was held on a field across the harbor from the USS Arizona Memorial, where over 1,100 sailors and Marines were killed and over 900 are entombed.
Every year, coinciding with the start of the attack on December 7, 1941, at 7:55 a.m., a moment of silence is observed.
Michael Schab’s pace has decreased during the last several years. However, he has not abandoned his weekly Zoom drink gatherings with younger brothers of Delta Sigma Phi.
Even at his advanced age, he is grateful to be alive, and for the opportunity of visiting Pearl Harbor, Schab said.