Local event to honor memories

KEYPORT — Although he wasn’t there for the catastrophe, the bombing of Pearl Harbor is a very personal thing to Wes Carey.

Stationed in Pearl Harbor in 1970, Carey worked at the USS Arizona Memorial where he became interested in preserving the memories of Dec. 7, 1941 and the men and women who were involved in that tragedy.

“He’s been taking the Pearl Harbor story all over the United States, wherever he’s been stationed,” Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport Public Affairs Officer Diane Jennings said of the 19-year Navy man who was stationed at Keyport before his retirement in 1995.

This Saturday, Dec. 7, Carey will present his 9th annual “Lest We Forget” Pearl Harbor remembrance at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport. The event that draws hundreds of veterans from around the peninsula, including members of Poulsbo’s American Legion post 245 and Veterans of the Foreign Wars 2463.

The program includes a commentary from Carey with a slide presentation of actual photos of the attack. Jennings said Carey’s talk, which he presents at venues around the nation, includes not only the facts but also personal stories of valor and loss.

There will also be musical entertainment by the Northwest Navy Band, the barbershop quartet the Kitsap Chordsmen and military service songs by students from Bellevue’s Enatai Elementary School.

Pearl Harbor survivors in attendance are also given the chance to take up the microphone and tell their own stories. Jennings said the veterans’ stories are often sad, but also sometimes add a little bit of levity.

“We get some humorous or funny stories about being taken off guard by the attacks or not believing it when they were called to the deck,” Jennings said.

The event concludes with the playing of taps.

Last year’s commemoration was the 60th anniversary of the bombings, and drew so many people that the 450-person auditorium was standing room only. Jennings said she hopes this year’s crowd will be just as large, because the stories are just as relevant.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful program. It gives a lot of honor to veterans for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country and it’s especially great in the wake of Sept. 11 to remember the prices that have been paid for the freedoms we have every day,” she explained.

“Lest We Forget” takes place at 11 a.m. at the Keyport Naval Undersea Museum Jack Murdock Auditorium. Parking and admission is free. For more information, call the museum at (360) 396-4148.

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