Seaside Stories

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Seaside

December 8, 2010 | by Shanda Bonn

Seaside has many treasures “hidden” before our very eyes, ones we may take for granted because we don’t fully grasp their importance.  One such gem is the First Avenue Bridge, also known as the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, with three memorial plaques I had failed to notice until today.

Seaside’s bridge is one of only a handful of such memorials and is certainly apt for the area, given the Oregon Coast’s unhappy distinction of being one of the few places on the US Mainland to be attacked following Pearl Harbor. A Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens in April of 1942 and a Japanese plane bombed the southern coast in September of the same year. Thankfully, damage was minimal and a feared full-scale invasion never materialized.

This morning I attended the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Seaside Convention Center. In an effort to establish countywide recognition of this infamous day, several groups came together to mark the occasion. Under the leadership of Seaside Resident and Pearl Harbor survivor, Bill Thomas, with the cooperation of the City of Seaside, the American Legion coordinated the event and was joined by members of the Oregon National Guard, US Coast Guard, VFW and several other active and retired military men and women. Also on hand were Representative Deborah Boone and a representative from Senator Jeff Merkley’s office. The rest of us civilians were there to pay tribute to family and friends who have served our nation whether at Pearl Harbor or elsewhere during World War II or even in other conflicts including Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Remembrance Day Ceremony opened with Thomas announcing this would be his last year coordinating the event and he was given a rousing hand for his efforts over the years to ensure that the events of December 7, 1941 not be forgotten.

Guest speaker Retired Admiral Ed Nelson of the US Coast Guard outlined the events that led up to the attack helping me to better comprehend the significance of that day. I also appreciated his childhood recollections of starting each school day with a patriotic song, not, he said, to glorify war but to remember and show respect. Why remember? “Because sacrifice without remembrance is meaningless.”

While we listened to comments by Admiral Nelson and other guests, a slideshow played in the background showing pictures of Bill Thomas’ trip back to Pearl Harbor last December. Eventually, we made our way to the bridge for the presentation of the wreath. Thomas tossed a fresh floral wreath into the river below as a US Coast Guard helicopter flew overhead. The ceremony concluded with a Three Bell Salute and the playing of Taps. It was solemn but not sad. The crowd dispersed with hugs and handshakes, shoulders erect and heads held high, a mixture of pride and humility.

After the ceremony, I spoke with Seaside Mayor Don Larson, a retired Army Reservist. He expressed regret that Pearl Harbor was buried on page 3 of one of the more prominent newspapers and eagerly voiced his desire that the heroes of Pearl Harbor be remembered, thus the City’s Proclamation that December 7th is officially Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Thank you, Bill Thomas, and all of the participants, for being such an important part of the treasure of the North Coast.

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

The Best of Times News: The Beach at the End of the Trail

Travel writer for the fabulous 50-and-over set, Andrea Gross, spent some time on Oregon’s North Coast in the summer of 2014....

Learn More
Seaside Without A Car

If you’ve visited Seaside in the past, you’ve likely come by car. But did you know that you can leave the driving to someone e...

Learn More
Broadway Field is a Community Gem

Renovated Broadway Field is a community gem

Learn More
Smoothies, Boba, Floats and Other Specialty Drinks

It’s hot out and you’ve worked up a thirst. Sometimes that plain old water isn’t going to satisfy. Luckily, it’s easy to f...

Learn More
Everyone Needs a Spring Break

Any reason is a good reason to head to the Oregon Coast. Whether you have an official “spring break” or not, we think that yo...

Learn More
Mural Walking Tour

Seaside has a flourishing art scene with quaint galleries and a monthly art walk in the historic Gilbert District, but it also has...

Learn More
Gayway Park in the early 1960s

Gayway Park in the 1960s was a major family attraction in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
A Seaside Jewel

Library in Seaside is a popular jewel for small community

Learn More
So Close, But a World Away

A couple explores Seaside as modern-day Lewis and Clark Adventurers

Learn More
How to Experience Seaside’s Prom Centennial

Centennial anniversaries don’t happen all too often. Once every hundred years, in fact! We’ll show you how to celebrate all ye...

Learn More
Feed Your Mind, Body and Soul in Seaside

Seaside is more than its well-earned reputation for fun and shopping along famed Broadway Street. It’s also home to pampering sp...

Learn More
Seaside Art Scene

Seaside is well-known for its scenic coastline, color-drenched sunsets and abundant natural beauty, but this coastal town has an a...

Learn More
How To Surf Seaside

Surfing in Oregon? Yes! The North Coast has some of the best breaks in the Pacific Northwest. And yes, the ocean is a bit nippy, b...

Learn More
Seaside Golf Club

A look at the history of the Seaside Golf Club.

Learn More
Summer in Seaside can offer as much variety as our local candy stores.
How to Have an Epic North Coast Summer

A summer spent in Seaside is like a good clam chowder — fresh, flavorful and filling.

Learn More
Mushroom Foraging Near Seaside

Oregon’s North Coast is a popular spot for treasure hunters. While some people might look for pirate treasure though, the on...

Learn More
Summer’s Great, but There’s Nothing Else like Winter in Seaside

When you imagine a classic beach town, you probably picture something similar to Seaside, Oregon. Our town of 6,700 sits less than...

Learn More
SOLV Beach Clean Up

When I look at our beaches I don’t see garbage. I see a breathtaking coastline, and I think how lucky we are to have such pristine beauty right in our own backyard. I believe most beachgoers, both locals and tourists, are conscientious about disposing their refuse properly after a day playing on the beach. So why do we have the SOLV beach cleanup twice a year?

Learn More