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There are days in the year we should commemorate yearly: 9/11, D-Day, V-Day, July 4. December 7, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, is one of those days. We lost 2,400 in the attack, the majority on the USS Arizona.
Today at Pearl Harbor, a sailor who saved six men finally received his recognition. Also, President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation to recognize December 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Seven survivors joined him for the event.
Speech - President - Franklin - D - Roosevelt
The speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave on December 8:
During the attack, a young sailor named Joe George risked his life to save “the last six survivors from the sinking USS Arizona.” Everyone thought he should have received a medal. The Navy commended him and added his heroics to his record, but in order to get a medal, the Navy demanded an eyewitness and “corroboration from a senior officer who was aboard the USS Vestal with George.” No one could find them.
Problem - George - Order - Line - Vestal
Another problem included George disobeying “an order to cut the line between the Vestal, a maintenance ship, and the Arizona.” he refused to do so after he spotted those six men.
Unfortunately, George died in 1996. But those who were around him never forgot his actions, especially the family members of the men he saved. From USA Today:
Years - Son - Men - George - Cause
A few years later, the son of one of the men George rescued took up the cause of the medal.
He called. He wrote letters. He enlisted other Pearl Harbor survivors. He tracked down George’s family and promised George’s widow he would fight to secure recognition for the man who had saved his dad’s life.
George - Daughter - Joe - Ann - Taylor
George’s daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, joined the campaign. They took it all the way to the White House.
Today, 76 years later, George finally received a medal:
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