Local events commemorate 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack


FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — It’s been 80 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed thousands and launched the United States into World War II.

On Thursday, dozens of people boarded the U.S.S. Massachusetts at Battleship Cove in Fall River to commemorate the somber anniversary.

Michael Cetola’s father, Joseph, was aboard the U.S.S. Phoenix when the attack started. He set up a stand showcasing his father’s memorabilia so that others will never forget.

“We need to be aware and vigilant about things like this because history repeats itself, as we know,” Cetola said.

A lifelong resident of Fall River, Cetola’s father joined the Navy in 1938.

“He enlisted in Boston and did his basic training in Newport,” Cetola recalled.

Among the memorabilia were four service medals his father received during his time in the Navy and a diary recounting the events of that day. It reads:” [Japan] sneak attacks Pearl Harbor at 7:55 Sunday, December 7, 1941.”

Cetola said the memories his father shared with him about Pearl Harbor weren’t happy ones, but they’re important to make sure “we don’t forget.”

In Providence, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island hosted the “Operation Keep ‘Em Warm” coat drive to give back to veterans and their families.

“When you serve in the military, you’re signing your life on the line, with that comes you’ll be protected when you come home,” Associate Director Brian Sullivan said.

A 34-year member of the Army National Guard, Sullivan said holding the event on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor was fitting.

“It just coincides with what veterans mean to our community and that we need to take care of them throughout the year, but especially during the winter time,” he added.

Sullivan said Tuesday’s drive would likely help dress 100 veterans and community members in need.

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