Written by Daniel Offner Friday, 20 December 2013 00:00
Local veterans gathered at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, in remembrance of the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor—a day that will forever live in infamy.
Each year, the Long Island Air Force Association commemorates the attack—which launched the U.S. involvement in World War II—by gathering with veterans, elected officials and residents in the community for the “Dropping of the Roses” ceremony.
First started in 1970 by the late Joseph Stanley Hydrusko, the Dropping of the Roses is held each December to honor the men and women who died in the attack. After blessing the roses with water from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the GEICO Skytypers pilot a WWII aircraft from Republic Airport to drop the roses over the Statue of Liberty.
This year, 72 roses were dropped at precisely 12:55 p.m. [Eastern Time], which was the same time the attack on Pearl Harbor began.
In addition to the Dropping of the Roses, local officials honored three veterans from the community who were stationed in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 and fought back against the attacking Japanese forces. This year’s honorees included veterans Gerard Barbosa, 89, of East Meadow, who fought aboard the USS Raleigh during the attacks; Richard Abeles, 92, of Brentwood, who served as a radio operator aboard the USS Dale; and Seymour Blutt, 95, of Manhattan, who served at Hickam Field.