Tuesday, November 17, 2015

USS Juneau Remembrance Ceremony

It was a blustery day in Juneau.  The winds were blowing and the rain steady.  Rain was running down the faces of those who attended.  But it didn't stop members of the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, National Guard, Veteran organizations, veterans, and others. . . who felt the pain. . . from showing up to give their respect to 697 fallen sailors.

On November 13, 1942, in the middle of World War II and the Battle of Guadalcanal, the USS Juneau CL-52 was sunk.

On November 13, 2015, the Mendenhall Flying Lions Club hosted a memorial service for the 697 men who died during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Lion Donna Hurley has been involved in the CL-52 for almost 30 years, but more about that in a future post.  This remembrance service was something she needed to do, to honor all those souls lost so many years ago.

When the program was finalized, Randy Wanamaker (Vice Chair of Goldbelt, Inc.) was the Master of Ceremonies.  Invocation was by LCDR Ray Rivers, U.S. Navy Chaplain.  Mayor Greg Fisk gave the Remembrance Proclamation.  And history of the Battle of Guadalcanal was given by LCDR Rich Halbig

Wreaths were placed by American Legion Post #25, VFW Post #5559, Alaska Native Veterans, WWII Veteran/Air Force, and Lion Tom Dawson, Vietnam Veteran/Navy Aviation Rang the Bell.

It was a short ceremony but respectfully honored those lost souls.  At the end of the memorial service, guests were invited to a reception sponsored by Goldbelt Inc. and Goldbelt Mt. Roberts Tram.

Dear Lord, I’m just a sailor
A protector of our land,
A servant called to battle
When my country takes a stand.
I pray for strength and courage
And a heart that will forgive.
For peace and understanding
In a world for all to live.
My family’s prayers are with me,
No matter where I roam.
Please listen when I’m lonely
And return me safely home.


Lion Donna Hurley explains the pearls:  One pearl for each fallen sailor:  697 Officers and Crew

14 total survived - 4 by transfer to another ship and 10 rescued.  683 perished, 15 of those in the first strike during the battle, 503 died when the ship exploded and sank, 150-180 survived the blast and all but 10 died in the water. 

The long string represents officers and crew that died due to sinking, the shorter string represents the ones left adrift in the water for 8 days.  

The shortest string are the 14 who survived either by transfer (silver beads) or by the grace of GOD (10 pearls).  

The Lions motto is, "We Serve."  But it was the men who fought at the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942, who served.  They served for their family and friends.  They served for their country. They served with their lives.  In memory of....

Lion Nancy Norton

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