December 7th, 2016, marked the 75th year anniversary of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor off the coast of Hawaii. Although a tragedy, we must hold the events of Pearl Harbor in our hearts and minds in order to memorialize and honor those who died and lived through the day. The attack on Pearl Harbor truly shook the nation into reality and inspired many to serve their country. This December 7th, Christa McAuliffe was honored to have been visited by three army veterans. The whole experience, listening to the veterans’ stories and reliving the event, was an amazing rendering of American history.
The first veteran to speak was eighty-seven year old Staff Sergeant Thomas Trombone. At the time of the ambush on Pearl Harbor, as Thomas Trombone stated, he was only twelve years old and had come home from watching a picture in a theater to his mother crying. She had just received the news about Pearl Harbor, which had just been bombed by over 350 Japanese aircrafts. The overall attack caused over 2,000 deaths of United States citizens and sunk the USS Arizona, as well as destroying almost one hundred U.S. aircrafts. Years later, at age 19, Trombone enlisted into the army due to his anticipation of war. Although Trombone’s mother was wholly supportive of his decision to join the army, he regrets enlisting on an impulse and not consulting with his mother first. His mother did, however, insist that Thomas finish his education. Staff Sergeant Thomas Trombone finished college and served as a radio operator in various stations during his service. This year, Thomas Trombone was the only visiting veteran to have lived through Pearl Harbor. He was accompanied by two younger veterans who also spoke about the army.
Staff Sergeant Gwendolyn Cavalier was one of the younger veterans visiting the school. Cavalier follows in her father’s footsteps by serving in the army as a pharmacy technician. She also explained how her life led to her enlistment into the army. Staff Sergeant Cavalier started off her spiel on the army by encouraging girls to achieve their dreams and ignore sexism. She offered her own accomplishments as proof that a woman can do as much as a man and informed us that the army treats everyone with an equal attitude and respect. Cavalier especially loves her job because it allows her to travel the world and obtain many new experiences. During her service, she has traveled across the globe to foreign places, such as Korea. Cavalier added on that exploring new places, learning new skills, and enveloping yourself in a different culture will always benefit you. When asked about her most amazing army experience, Cavalier answered that it was having the opportunity to leap out of an airplane and enjoy the feeling of flying through the air.
The second of the younger veterans to visit Christa McAuliffe was Sergeant Nilson Garcia. Garcia wished to join the army all the way back when he lived in South America. When he joined the Army as a medical recruiter, Garcia said that his mother had cried. However, he later said, the next time his mother had wept it was due to pride for her son. Garcia stated that his favorite part about serving in the army was the friendship and bonds formed, as well as having the knowledge and honor of protecting and assisting a country. Sergeant Nilson Garcia’s job is to travel from station to station and recruit young doctors, and others in the medical field, into the army. Staff Sergeant Gwendolyn Cavalier is also currently working with Garcia in New York City as a medical recruiter.
Although each of them had disparate lives and journeys, all three of the veterans expressed a profound gratitude for the army and their experiences along the way. On December 7th, they each passed on the story of a lifetime to the students of Christa McAuliffe to strengthen our knowledge of the army and its purpose. Staff Sergeant Thomas Trombone especially helped the classes visualize and understand how traumatic and devastating the event was because he shared his own experience with the students. It is our generation’s duty to enlighten the minds of the future generations to come with the affairs of Pearl Harbor. Otherwise, mistakes will be made and history may be repeated. However, the future generation can also benefit from this knowledge and achieve more for our country.