In remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor, an Auburn business will raise a flag Friday that was flown over the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor on last year's anniversary of the 1941 attack that propelled the nation into World War II.
Seventy-seven years ago on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor — a U.S. naval base in Hawaii — was surprised by a devastating attack by Japan that killed about 2,400 sailors, soldiers and civilians and wounded about 1,000 more people. The next day, president Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan and the U.S. entered World War II.
Although Emperor Michinomiya Hirohito announced Japan's surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, it was aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2 that Japan formally surrendered to the Allies. These surrender documents marked the end of WWII. Today, the USS Missouri is part of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
While on vacation in Hawaii earlier this year, Michael Cartner, chief financial officer and an owner of Currier Plastics, spotted a flag in a store at the Pearl Harbor Memorial site that said it flew over the USS Missouri on Dec. 7, 2017, said Currier's Sales and Marketing Manager Elizabeth Roberts. Due to the battleship's significance and connection to Pearl Harbor, Cartner bought the flag and brought it back to Currier Plastics with the idea that the company could fly it on Dec. 7.
Roberts said Currier is "pretty patriotic" and staff were enthusiastic about the idea, especially since many employees are veterans. In a meeting about the flag-raising ceremony this week, Roberts said staff went around the room to share what the flag meant to them and a former Marine said, "I see my freedom when I see the flag."
"There's still some of us who are personally touched by (Pearl Harbor)," said Roberts, who's father was a Pearl Harbor survivor. Others, she added, are also connected by knowing a friend or family member who was there or by having served in the military.
At 8:15 a.m. Friday morning, the company will gather for what Roberts described as a "small, intimate ceremony," to raise the flag in Currier's courtyard. It will fly at half-staff in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, who died last week, and those who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Any veterans in the area are welcome to come and join the ceremony.
Eagle Scouts Jason Schmidt and Tim Walawender will raise the flag "by the book," Roberts said, and Currier employees and veterans Pat Hahn, Jason Kelley, Mike Rojo, Corey Richardson and Cory Pine will "be up front and center" during the flag-raising.
The ceremony is important to Currier because the company sees it as a way "to recognize the day and not forget what happened" as well as to "celebrate and honor" the American flag, Roberts said.