MADISON – Governor Scott Walker attended a memorial ceremony today at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King to pay tribute to veterans and commemorate the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was joined by one Pearl Harbor survivor, King Veterans Home resident Chuck Davis of the United States Navy. Governor Walker will also be visiting the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Chippewa Falls this afternoon for a similar memorial ceremony.
“Today we remember the brave service members who risked and sacrificed their lives at Pearl Harbor to safeguard our nation’s blessings of liberty,” said Governor Walker. “We deeply appreciate the courage and selflessness of those who lost their lives 76 years ago, as well as all our veterans and service members throughout our history who keep us safe and free.”
On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked American forces at Pearl Harbor, killing 2,400 individuals and destroying hundreds of military ships and planes. President Franklin Roosevelt aptly labeled it “a date which will live in infamy,” as it directly resulted in the United States’ entry into World War II. Over the course of the next four years, sixteen million Americans served in the military and over 310,000 died. Wisconsin sent 332,000 men and women to serve in World War II, with more than 8,000 paying the ultimate price.
Wisconsin has direct connections to the attack on Pearl Harbor, as an estimated 200 Wisconsin service members were present on that fateful day, with 58 reported killed in action. Two Wisconsin sailors were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor for their actions at Pearl Harbor: Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh, the last commander of the U.S.S. Arizona, directed the defense of his ship until a violent blast killed him; and Commander Cassin Young was blown off the U.S.S. Vestal by an explosion, but swam back to the ship and beached her to ensure that the ship could later be salvaged.