Southern Utah Veterans remember Pearl Harbor victims

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – The American Legion Post 90 hosted a silent wreath-laying ceremony Tuesday morning at the Tonaquint Cemetery in St. George.

Veterans from all over Southern Utah began the ceremony at 10:48 AM, the exact time of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

80 years ago, America lost more than 2,400 service members and civilians when hundreds of Japanese planes dropped bombs.

“That was the beginning of a major war, that changed America like no previous period in history,” says retired Navy Veteran, Ronald Bruce Lewis.

While there are no known Pearl Harbor survivors living in St. George, veterans from five different branches of service came together to participate in the ceremony. One of them is Ronald Bruce Lewis, a retired Navy Veteran who was a rescue helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War.

“Many of them were buried in unknown graves, in Punchbowl National Cemetery, the USS Oklahoma, over 400 were buried in unmarked graves, starting in 2015, America started exhuming those remains,” he says.

Lewis says there are still 26 individuals unaccounted for.

“47 days ago, I helped bury one of those men, America should never forget the people that served during World War II,” he says.

Lewis says the sailor he helped bury was Elliot Dean Larson, who was able to be identified through a relative’s DNA.

“He’s now buried in Monroe, Utah next to his parents, America should never forget the families serve also,” he says.

Lewis says he hopes people remember the sacrifice these brave Americans endured.

“It means the world not just to Southern Utah, but all of America,” says Lewis.

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