Veterans commemorate Pearl Harbor attack

December 20, 2021 Theodore W. General
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Veterans gathered recently on the American Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge to mark the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

A moving ceremony honored the memory of the 2,403 service members and civilians who died on Dec. 7, 1941. On the Battleship USS Arizona alone, 1,177 sailors were killed. As a result of the sneak attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy, eight battleships and 10 other naval warships were sunk or destroyed.

The Brooklyn Council of the Kings County VFW hosted the program on the pier and VFW County Commander Jack Sanford presided. Sanford, a Navy veteran, said, “It was important to continue to hold this ceremony to help ensure that future generations will also remember the valor, sacrifice and legacy of this day.”

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Striking eight bells in memory of the sailors who died.

Past county and district commander Gary Wasserman delivered the invocation. In the absence of a bugler to play “Taps,” a brass Navy bell was struck eight times. Aboard ships, sailors stand watch (lookout duty) and eight bells indicate the end of a four-hour watch. The eight-bell end of watch also reflects the long-held tradition of the passing of a sailor.

Participants then tossed ceremonial wreaths from the pier and the group saluted with a moment of silence as the wreaths floated in the bay.

A salute and a moment of silence.

Among those in attendance were Catholic War Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, Assemblymember Michael Tannousis, Aidan Strongreen and Chris Vaughan representing U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, District Leader Katherine Khatari, Bay Ridge Historical Society President Tom McCarthy, and this journalist as public relations director for the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade Committee.

Participants bow in prayer during the invocation.
Striking eight bells in memory of the sailors who died.


We attended the grand opening of the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese’s new Emmaus performing arts center. The building was originally the Williamsburg Opera House.

The new Church of Saints Peter and Paul occupies the first floor. The second floor houses the grand auditorium, which has been restored to its former glory.

Singing sensation Matt Maher.

What drew our attention was the announcement at Bay Ridge’s St. Patrick’s Church that the new center was holding a “Spirit of Christmas Concert” featuring former 68th Precinct Police Officer Daniel Rodriguez, hailed as “America’s Beloved Tenor.” Rodriguez is a former Bay Ridge resident who has performed at St. Patrick’s and other churches, in Carnegie Hall and in other cities. During the concert, he credited Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, who, as a young priest at St. Patrick’s, got him involved in the parish. Rodriguez’ powerful rendition of “O Holy Night” was a show-stopper. 

The concert was simply fabulous. TV and film star Anthony Mangano was the emcee and performers included famous tenor Chris Macchio, Christian recording artist and songwriter Matt Maher and TV and movie star Daniel Roebuck.

Bishop Robert Brennan, center, with Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, left, and performers.

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To all our readers who celebrate, our best wishes for a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

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