Pearl Harbor Day Thursday December 7

Thursday, December 7, 2023

USS Arizona Memorial photo courtesy National Park Service

By Doug Cerretti

December 7, 2023 will mark 82 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor that started WW II for the United States.

Keil Brick at Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza
 Photo by Doug Cerretti

Seaman 1st Class Ralph Henry Keil, age 20
Photo courtesy Defense POW/KIA Accounting Agency
Last October, I had the opportunity to visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawaii. 

The attack on Pearl Harbor became a bit closer to us when the Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza received an engraved brick order to honor Seaman 1st Class Ralph Henry Keil.

Keil was from Tacoma, Puyallup and Chimacum, WA.

Keil was one of 429 sailors who perished on the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His remains were not identified until 2019.

Marker at the USS Oklahoma Memorial
Photo by Doug Cerretti
After visiting the Arizona Memorial, we visited the USS Oklahoma Memorial where Seaman 1st Class Ralph Henry Keil is honored.

On December 7, 2019, Ralph Henry Keil was identified by DNA analysis with samples from family members.

This past August 30th would have been his 102th birthday. 

Keil attended high school in Tacoma and Puyallup, graduating from Chimacum High School in Chimacum, WA in 1940. 

Over 80 years later, Seaman 1st Class Ralph Henry Keil was finally laid to rest at Mountain View Cemetery in Tacoma.

Battleship Missouri Memorial behind the USS Oklahoma Memorial
 Photo by Doug Cerretti

Behind the USS Oklahoma Memorial is the Battleship Missouri Memorial where on her quarterdeck, the surrender of the Empire of Japan was signed on September 2, 1945 which ended World War II. 

Let’s pause on this day to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

See previous article on Ralph Henry Keil:
Pearl Harbor soldier memorialized at Shoreline Veterans Recognition Plaza


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