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Local veterans gather to remember Pearl Harbor Day

December 08, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The United States has prevailed through difficult times, the former secretary of the Army said on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it will emerge from the war on terrorism victorious again.

John O. Marsh Jr., Army secretary from 1981 to 1989 and a former U.S. congressman, made the remarks Tuesday when speaking to more than 100 people at the Elks Lodge on Robinwood Drive.

After his speech, Marsh and other veterans said they were concerned that, as veterans of past wars age and die, the significance is being lost of the Pearl Harbor attack and sacrifices of veterans during that and other attacks.

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The number of veterans of the Pearl Harbor attack are dwindling. There were none present at Tuesday's event hosted by the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County, said Robert Glausier, the council's past president.

The event was intended to honor all veterans, not just those of that attack or World War II, Glausier said.

The situation further illustrates his point that young people need to join veterans organizations so history is not completely forgotten, Glausier said.

Harold Ridenour, 71, who served in the Army from 1953 to 1955, said Pearl Harbor Day still carries a great deal of significance to him.

"It brings back a lot of memories," Ridenour said, noting that the day is a reminder of the loss of life and property in past wars.

During his speech, Marsh, 78, of Winchester, Va., spoke about the attack on Pearl Harbor and compared it to the Sept. 11 terrorist acts.

While the Pearl Harbor attacks launched a conventional war, Marsh said, the Sept. 11 attacks sparked an unconventional war that he predicted will be "long and drawn out."

Marsh, who teaches a course on cyberterrorism at George Mason University, urged the creation of a national policy to address perceptions of the Muslim world. The policy would find a way to address and repair inaccurate stereotypes Muslims in other nations have about the United States, he said.

Marsh also suggested the Maryland state government find a way to let people driving through the state know which communities have members serving overseas.

He suggested a star, a ribbon or some other insignia be placed so that people will know that a unit including residents of Sharpsburg or Hagerstown, for example, is serving in the war.

Glausier had his own suggestion: When people meet a veteran, they should consider saying, "Thank you for serving."

"It will make them feel good," he said.

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