Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- For over 20 years an annual Pearl Harbor survivor ceremony was held in the city of Chicago down at the Navy Pier on the waterfront.
The then Mayor Richard M. Daley was the host and master of ceremonies.
There is however a new mayor for Chicago, Rohm Emanuel, an Obama very liberal democrat, who in his first year in office seemed to forget about our surviving veterans from “the day that will live in infamy,” and I guess the history of defense of this nation.
The 7 December 2011 ceremony was held on Navy Pier but the Mayor did not attend. If the Mayor is a no-show then so is the public and most of the press. This year 2012 there was no attempt to even try to get the Rohm Emanuel to host or even show up to honor the handful of Pearl Harbor veterans still alive and able to attend a ceremony in Northern Illinois.
I have a veteran friend, Chief Petty Officer Joe Triolo USN Retired who stood on the deck of his ship, the USS Tangier and fired his 50 caliber machine gun at Japanese aircraft. He did this for hours as wave after wave of torpedo bombers tried to destroy the entire US fleet tied up at Pearl. Due to his efforts and shooting skills the Tangier was credited with destroying three enemy aircraft that day.
I have known Chief Triolo for a number a years and have attended Pearl Harbor Survivor Association luncheons with him, but those have ended because the Association officially disbanded last year. There are so few survivors left and sadly for the most part they are not in good enough health to keep attending meetings.
I drove Chief Triolo to the last remembrance ceremony held in Chicago in 2011. The 7 December 2012 Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony was held in exile, in suburban Des Plaines, Illinois. Instead of being at water’s edge or at a veteran memorial site it was held in a nursing home.
The location and the fact that Chicago forgot the veterans was sad, but Rick and Bob Miller were the heroes of the day. Rick and Bob are the sons of a now deceased Pearl Harbor survivor. These two men have been the backbone in keeping the Northern Illinois chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivor Association going for years. They stepped up and made the 2012 ceremony happen when the second largest city in the nation could not manage to even show up.
Months of planning came together at a great indoor (and very warm) ceremony. Great Lakes Naval Base did the ceremony proud. They provided an honor guard rifle team, a color guard to present the flags, and a small band. Captain Randall Lynch the commander of Great Lakes (forty miles north of Chicago) was one of the speakers.
I had the honor of being the other speaker at the ceremony. I spoke about my friend Chief Triolo and his best friend, Donald R. McCloud from back home in West Virginia. Both mean had served on the USS Oklahoma in 1937-38. Chief Triolo had left the Oklahoma to serve on two other ships. Donald McCloud had served all his time in the Navy on the Oklahoma and died on that ship on 7 December 1941 when is was sunk at Pearl Harbor. McCloud was never to be recovered after the ship was re-floated and the water pumped out.
My contact with Chief Triolo first happened after I wrote a poem about the USS Oklahoma, sent it to my father (a retired Navy Master Chief) who passed it on to Chief Triolo.
There was suppose to be another survivor at the 2012 ceremony who also lost his best friend, John M. Mulick from back home in Elma, Iowa when the USS Oklahoma was sunk. Former Chief Petty Officer Dean Garrett of Freeport, Illinois was unable at the last minute, due to heath reasons to attend the ceremony.
Again we are rapidly losing our WWII veterans and the Pearl Harbor veterans were there the opening day of that war. Many had already served for years in the military before the first shot was fired.
I recently spoke to Chief Triolo at his home in Waukegan, Illinois, he is 93 years old. I am planning on taking the Chief to the 2013 Pearl Harbor ceremony this year. I am assuming the Miller brothers and the US Navy will once again come through to honor and remember these who perished that day and those who survived to continue the fight.
It is getting harder and harder to “Remember Pearl Harbor” especially in Chicago, Illinois.
10 Jan 2013
Major Van Harl USAF Ret
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret. , is a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. Now retired, these days he enjoys camping, traveling, volunteering with the Girl Scouts and writing. [email protected]