By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
The West Haven Veterans Council will hold an observance of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the William A. Soderman Memorial on the Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park.
All veterans are invited to participate in the annual ceremony, which will commemorate the 78th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
The solemn service will include a presentation of the colors by the West Haven Police Color Guard and a flag-raising by the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard, which comprises members of the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown, the West Haven Fire Department and the West Shore Fire Department.
It will feature remarks from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, Veterans Council President Dave Ricci and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422 Cmdr. Freddy Jackson.
Lou Esposito, Rossi’s executive assistant, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
Representing the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Jerry Lehr, son of the late William C. Lehr, a Pearl Harbor Navy veteran, will read the names of the 18 Connecticut servicemen who died Dec. 7, 1941, at the U.S. naval base on Oahu, Hawaii. A member of the West Haven Fire Department will toll the department’s chrome bell each instant a name is called.
Lehr, whose father served aboard the destroyer USS Monaghan, will be accompanied by Florence Stoeber, wife of the late Jack Stoeber, a Navy vet of Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima who was a regular at West Haven’s Pearl Harbor rites for many years.
Stoeber, whose ashes were scattered in Pearl Harbor after he died Jan. 16, 2016, at age 97, was a .50-caliber machine-gunner aboard the destroyer tender USS Whitney in the Pacific theater of World War II.
Florence Stoeber’s 6-year-old grandson, Matthew McCann, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
The tribute will also include opening and closing prayers by West Haven Vietnam Veterans chaplain Elliott Hastings, a wreath-laying and a rendition of the national anthem by West Haven High School junior Nora E. Mullins, as well as taps played by retired West Shore fire Lt. Kevin McKeon.