ABOARD USS IWO JIMA (NNS) -- Sailors from the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) were on hand at a ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Port Everglades, Fla., Dec. 7 to help honor the sacrifices of veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"We are truly honored to be here and to take part in this event," said Iwo Jima Commanding Officer Capt. Richard S. Callas. "It's truly fitting that our ship, named for the epic battle which helped bring World War II to an end, is here today to honor those who were there where that very war for the U.S. began."
With Iwo Jima as a backdrop, approximately 80 Sailors from LHD 7, including an honor guard detail, were on hand to pay tribute to the numerous Pearl Harbor survivors gathered for the event.
Serving as the event's guest speaker, Commander, Amphibious Group 2 Rear Adm. Reubin B. Bookert called on all in attendance to remember the sacrifices of the Pearl Harbor survivors and to never forget the events of that day 63 years ago.
"Pearl Harbor holds a special place in the history of our country," he remarked. "As we come together to honor those that were there that fateful day, we find ourselves at war again. We need to draw strength from the events of that day and from the sacrifices made by all who have served."
Iwo Jima Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Wayne MacRae joined Pearl Harbor Survivors aboard a small Coast Guard craft to lay a commemorative wreath in the waters off Port Everglades.
The survivors at the event, whose numbers are dwindling, made themselves available to the group, retelling personal experiences from the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"I remember all the small details - it's like it had just happened yesterday," recalled Pearl Harbor Survivor and Battle of Iwo Jima Veteran Herman "Hy" Volaski. "I remember thinking, 'This is not like some John Wayne movie - my buddies and me are not invincible. This is it."
Following the ceremony, Iwo Jima Sailors and invited guests joined the Pearl Harbor Survivors for a picnic on the station's grounds.
For related news, visit the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/lhd7.