Estero Beach and Tennis Club and American Legion Post 274 held a flag raising ceremony to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day at the condominium's 7330 Estero Blvd. location last Friday, Dec. 7.
The ceremony included an honor guard, an opening prayer, a raising of the memorial flag, the singing of the national anthem, a dedication reading of the Certificate of Flag Presentation to EBTC, a closing prayer, the flag being lowered to half-staff, a presentation of arms, a bugler rendition of "Taps" and a rendition of "Amazing Grace" by a bagpiper.
"This flag is dedicated to the veterans of the Estero Beach and Tennis Club. It's a tribute to the American fighting men killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor," said EB&TC member Wayne Longino, reading words from the Certificate of Flag Presentation during the ceremony.
American Legion Post 274 bagpiper Bob Davies leads the color guard into the ceremony at Estero Beach and Tennis Club.
Longino wanted to purchase a special memorial flag and dedicate it to the three living World War II veterans that are members of the condominium association. He received one that was raised and lowered from a flagpole mounted on the retired USS Arizona battleship at the 70th anniversary dedication ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii last year.
"We were lucky to get the one that flew on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. That's what makes this one more unique," he said. "This flag has a lot of significance. We have a tendency to forget about Pearl Harbor Day."
Longino said this particular flag was set aside for one of the WWII veterans who now volunteers for the National Park Service.
"When I talked to him, he agreed to let us purchase the flag," he said.
Honored WWII vets Jim Clawson served in the Coast Guard, Earl Ross served in the Army and Jack Butcher in the Navy.
"This is a great ceremony to keep the public informed of what's going on," said Butcher, who served in the North Atlantic Caribbean on the USS Midway, now a museum. "We appreciate all that is going on here."
The memorial flag at Estero Beach and Tennis Club was customarily flown at half-staff for the remainder of the day. It is being flown at full staff for the remainder of December, and then it will be stored until December 2013, when it will be raised once again.
This past Dec. 7 marked the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Peal Harbor in 1941. Pearl Harbor Day pays tribute to the fighting men who lost their lives during the attack. The USS Arizona was one of the ships that was bombed, as it exploded and sunk, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen.