Pearl Harbor Day commemorated in Brownwood ceremony

Special to the Bulletin
Harold Stieber, representing the American Legion Post 196, World War II veteran  Gussie Sieler of May and retired Army Col. Tom Gray, Commander of the American Legion Post 196, commemorate Pearl Harbor Day Monday at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial.

Gussie Seiler, World War II veteran, along with Retired Army Col. Tom Gray, Commander of the American Legion Post 196, positioned a wreath Monday at the World War II monument honoring those service men who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The short ceremony was held at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial.

The Japanese surprise attack killed 2,400 service men and wounded 1,000.The 420 Japanese attack planes destroyed or damaged 20 American war ships including six of the eight battleships docked along the bay.

Additionally, 180 US war planes were destroyed as they sat parked in line on the airfield.

 Fortunately, the Navy's three aircraft carriers were at sea.

The attack was a big success in the Japanese quest to dominate Asia. The next day in a joint session of Congress with President Franklin D. Roosevelt presiding, a declaration of war was made which drew the United States into World War II.

Roosevelt in his opening speech to Congress said the attack was “a day that will in infamy.”

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory," Roosevelt said.

Seiler, a Navy seaman first class, served in the Pacific on Guam island in a rescue team for damaged bomber planes returning from bomb raids over the Japanese islands. 

Seiler, born in Weser, Texas in 1926, volunteered for active duty at age 17 and enlisted in the Navy in Yorktown, TX. He currently lives in May.