Veterans Join Gov. Ricketts to Proclaim Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Nebraska

Dec. 6, 2019, 4 p.m. ·

Governor Pete Ricketts delivers remarks at the proclamation signing for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs)

Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation Friday making December 7th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Nebraska.

A crowd gathered in a meeting room at the State Capitol to forge a new Nebraska tradition: a statewide remembrance of the anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. This year marks the 78th anniversary of the attacks that left 2,400 Americans dead, and 1,100 wounded.

Ed Guthrie sat in the front row. He was an electrician mate on the U.S.S. Whitney and is known as Nebraska’s last living survivor of Pearl Harbor.

Gov. Pete Ricketts talks with Ed Guthrie, the last known survivor of Pearl Harbor in Nebraska. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs)

According to the governor's office, Guthrie continued his service after surviving the attack. He was stationed on the U.S.S. Banner and at Bikini Atoll, where the U.S. government conducted nuclear bomb tests between 1946 and 1958.

Nebraska Department of Veteran Affairs Director John Hilgert spoke to the importance of remembering those lost, and the "lessons of Pearl Harbor."

“While it has been nearly 80 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor and few of the survivors are still with us, our collective memory hasn’t faded,” he said.

Governor Pete Ricketts mentioned Nebraskans who perished, including a relative from his own family.

“We’ve got the Blitz twins from here in Lincoln, who were only 20 years old on the U.S.S. Oklahoma, or the Clayton cousins from Central City. They were 21 years old," Ricketts said.

The ceremony also honored families of Nebraskans whose loved ones recently shipped out on active duty.

According to Ricketts, 46 U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from Hastings deployed to the Middle East in early December, while 11 National Guard soldiers left for Maryland on a year-long deployment.

"When they’re away, they miss that Christmas party or that birthday ... and so our families sacrifice alongside our members of the military who are serving this country,” Ricketts said.

Flags will fly at half-staff on Saturday to honor victims and their families.