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Addia Wuchner: Remembering Pearl Harbor, welcome home Navy Fireman First Class Samuel Crowder

December marks the month of the busiest holiday we celebrate, but we must stop to remember Pearl Harbor first. This year in December, we will reflect on the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. We must remember the 2,403 Americans who were killed December 7, 1941, including sailors, soldiers, airman, marines, and civilians.

Creating the largest loss of life on the naval base was the Japanese bombing of the USS Arizona armory, killing 1,177 on board. Another 429 were killed when the USS Oklahoma was hit with five torpedoes, capsizing the ship. One of those sailors was Louisville native, Samuel Crowder.

Samuel Crowder

Crowder, a Navy Fireman First Class, was recovered from the sunken ship sometime between the attack and June 1944. Because of the lack of scientific testing in those days, Crowder was unidentified and listed as missing until this August. Thanks to an advocacy group and advances in forensics and DNA testing, this Kentucky-American hero has been positively identified and will be laid to rest on Dec. 9 in his hometown of Louisville, 76 years after he paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Crowder’s remains, along with 400 others, were disinterred from a Hawaiian cemetery as part of a project by POW/MIA Accounting Agency to identify those military men and women missing in action as a result of the Pearl Harbor attack. So far, the project has successfully identified 100 sailors and marines, and the agency hopes to identify around 80 percent of the missing crew members by 2020.

Dedicating time, resources, and money to honoring our fallen heroes in this way illustrates everything that is laudable about America. Despite our divisions and conflicts, we can always count on people to come together when it really matters for an important cause.

In a time of so much political strife, it is important to focus on what we have gone through and what we have survived as a nation. We have survived the revolutionary war, a civil war, slavery, two world wars, a presidential assassination, and 9/11, among other tragic events throughout our storied history. We can surely survive the partisan turmoil and identity politics currently plaguing our culture.

This week, and before we get swept away with the most wonderful time of the year, let us remember all those men and women who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor those 76 years ago. After all, some of them are just finally being found and brought to their final resting place. We applaud the work of those returning loved ones home to their families.

Welcome home, Fireman First Class Samuel Crowder. May you finally rest in peace.

There is no higher honor for me than to serve as your representative in Frankfort. As always, I welcome your comments and concerns on any issues impacting our Commonwealth, even while we are not in session. I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or you can contact me via e-mail at addia.wuchner@lrc.ky.gov.

You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov.

Addia Wuchner represents Kentucky’s 66th House District in northern Boone County

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