Cameron Smith, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, said the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor reminds us not only of that infamous day of loss that heaved America into a second world war, but also of the millions of ordinary citizens whose courage and sacrifice changed the course of history.
“Ordinary citizens like Portland resident Jean Wojnowski, an Army nurse who served in the South Pacific, tending to the wounded and fallen,” Smith said. “Jean, who turned 101 in May, still remembers her time serving in uniform as one of the highlights of her life.”
More than 152,000 Oregonians served in WWII, but today, fewer than 13,000 of these men and women remain.
“We can never forget the lessons of Pearl Harbor, but the greatest teachers are those who lived through it,” Smith said. “The Greatest Generation’s shared sacrifices and determination – both overseas and on the home front – inspired the world and helped guide our nation through one of the most perilous times in its history. These real-life heroes still have much to teach us all.”