Survivors, witnesses to Pearl Harbor attack, sought for 75th anniversary ceremony in Wilmington

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The U.S.S North Carolina. File photo.
The U.S.S North Carolina. File photo.

WILMINGTON — The call has been made for Pearl Harbor survivors and witnesses to attend this year’s Southeastern North Carolina’s annual Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor commemoration in this, the 75th year since the attack on the United States.

“We continue to seek survivors and witnesses each year to participate. If you know of one, please contact me at once,” Wilbur Jones, chairman of the sponsoring World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition, said.

The annual event has typically taken place at Battleship Park, but, due to unpredictable weather and the age of survivors, the ceremony has been moved inside, to Wilmington’s Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center at Second and Orange Streets. In 2015, bad weather forced the cancellation of the event.

“We’ve identified three Pearl Harbor Survivors who’ve attended the last three years, but because of their ages and weather prospects, we felt it necessary to go indoors,” Jones said.

The ceremony will begin at 1:25 p.m. on Dec. 7, the Wilmington time when the Japanese attack on Hawaii began, a press release states. This year, the ceremony includes a dedication of an exhibit in the lobby museum to memory of Air Force Lt. Gen. George S. Boylan Jr.

The highly decorated Boylan, a Wilmington native, chased German submarines in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II before becoming an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator bomber pilot, flying missions over Europe. He finished his career his career at the Pentagon senior management service.

The Boylan exhibit, sponsored by his children, George W. and Louise Boylan, contains his three-star jacket; “25-mission crush” hat; photographs; artifacts; a model of his 93rd Bomb Group B-24; a bomber aviator’s helmet, goggles and oxygen mask; a radio microphone; and a Star News photo of Boylan as the Azalea Festival grand marshal.

For information on attending the ceremony as a witness or survivor, contact Jones at 910-793-6393 or joneswd@ec.rr.com.

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