LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Lafayette native Lawson Close was a Navy veteran who served at Pearl Harbor 77 years ago. Though he is no longer with us, his sacrifice isn't forgotten.
"I wanted to remember him and his presence and his service to our country in Pearl Harbor," said Pearl Harbor Observance Day guest speaker, U.S. Navy Cpt. David A. Bretz.
The event was complete with the playing of taps and a floral tribute.
"I was only 11 years old when Pearl Harbor happened," said George Hooker.
Those in attendance remembered what they could.
"We've got to keep memories alive, but we don't seem to have too many any more," said Hooker.
Tippecanoe County Veterans Council President Tim Hilton said we don't have very many Pearl Harbor veterans left. We need to take advantage of first-hand experience of this event while we still have it.
"The story that they lived through and what happened to them," said Hilton. "Because like I said, it's one of the most important events in U.S. History."
While stationed in Hawaii in the late 1960s, Hilton was constantly reminded of what happened there.
"The hangars we had at our base still had the bullet holes. They left those in the concrete," said Hilton.
On the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Hilton and several others from the Lafayette Navy Club went to Pearl Harbor to be honored for the national group's fundraising efforts to build a memorial there.
"We sold these coins and cards for two dollars," said Hilton.
It's a cause near and dear to him and on December 7th he encourages others to take note.
"There was 2,400 men and women killed that day of various members of service and civilians," said Hilton. "And we're just thanking them for the ultimate sacrifice they gave."
The following day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan.