The first Military Appreciation Night honored local veterans and family members at the Las Positas College Physical Education Complex on Feb. 12.
Opening the ceremony, 10 student veterans unfurled an American flag at the center of the presentation area and “God Bless America”was sung by Las Positas College student Alejandra Quezada-Semeno.
To the applause of the almost 100 attendees in the audience, 40 honorees from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps along with two blue star mothers who have sons or daughters in active service entered and were announced by name. There are almost 600 student veterans at Las Positas, College President Dyrell Foster said. “This is an exciting night to honor our service members at the college,” he noted.
One of those introduced was Mickey Ganitch, a 100-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor.
“This is an honor for me to be here,” Gantich said. “I am here to show my support.” Ganitch talked about the happenings on “that day of infamy” while he was on the USS Pennsylvania in dry dock.
“I saw it all. Five minutes before I was going to leave the ship the first attack by the Japanese air force struck. I ran to my station in the crow’s nest of the main mast and saw what was happening to all the ships around me,” he said.
“That first attack didn’t hit my ship, but the second one badly damaged it. The U.S. (Army) Air Force was able to stop the attack,” he continued. “If there would have been a third attack it would have been a disaster and we would have lost the war.”
--Over 2,400 military personnel and civilians were killed in the attacks and many more died later from injuries suffered. Of the approximately 50,000 service members who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, it is believed that about 2,000 are still alive today, according to PearlHarbor.org.