By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeffry Willadsen, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Everett
EVERETT, Wash. – Sailors stationed on Naval Station Everett (NSE) commemorated Memorial Day and the 71st Anniversary of the Battle of Midway with a combined ceremony in the Grand Vista Ballroom on NSE, June 7.
The event, which was also attended by local veterans, included presentations by guest speakers and a wreath laying ceremony.
“It is important that we pause routinely to reflect on our collective heritage and history. This week is a signature opportunity,” said Capt. Michael Coury, NSE commanding officer. “[The Battle of Midway] marks an important milestone for the Pacific fleet, our Navy, and our nation.”
The Battle of Midway, fought from June 4-7 1942, was a decisive victory for the United States on the Pacific front during World War II. During the battle, allied surface and air forces destroyed a significant portion of the Japanese Imperial Navy. Midway is considered by many as the turning point of the War in the Pacific, and is one of the most well-known and revered battles in naval history.
Loren Sperry, commander of the Washington Department of the American Legion, spoke about the effect that veterans have had on American history. Sperry, drafted into the Army in 1969, served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970.
“We have to stop and think sometimes where we are at and what we need to remember,” said Sperry. “The sacrifice made by countless American heroes has indeed changed the world.”
Another guest speaker was Ernie Arnold, a retired Navy Chief Aviation Electrician’s Mate and World War II veteran, who served at Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and other campaigns, and told the story of how he served his country.
His story had a special connection to the Battle of Midway, since he joined the Navy on June 6th, 1942, as the battle was taking place.
The ceremony concluded with the wreath laying ceremony and the playing of “taps”.