Remembering Pearl Harbor: 76 Years Later

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OCEAN COUNTY – The 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor will take place this week, on December 7, and memories of loved ones lost will be recounted and cherished.

It was nearly eight decades ago, but its effects can still be felt today. It started like any other morning as the sun rose over the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, but then history changed forever once those Japanese planes appeared overhead. On that fateful day, Imperial Japanese forces launched a secret attack that killed 2,403 men and women. This was a turning point in United States history and the first domino to fall in World War II.

Despite taking place 76 years ago, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has helped us retrieve the memories of those lost from our own local communities, keeping it fresh in our minds. The job of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency is to identify those killed or missing soldiers from wars past, including WWII.

Through this agency, the remains of a young Ocean County sailor were recovered.

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Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Earl R. Melton of Lakewood was killed when the battleship U.S.S. Oklahoma was torpedoed and capsized in the harbor on that fateful day and he is now buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Thanks to their hard work the family of this brave sailor finally has closure,” Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said. “After all of these years a hero has finally come home.”

“Seventy-six years ago the United States entered a conflict to end tyranny in the world,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little. “Today, our brave men and women are defending their nation from new threats to peace. Let us pay tribute to all of our veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.”