Remembering sacrifice, 1941; celebrating life, 2003

December 9, 2003

Flying over the Pacific for a visitation to Hawaii the first week of December, Bishop Suffragan of the Armed Forces, George E. Packard, saw an elderly man wearing a baseball cap with the words, “Survivor Pearl Harbor, Schofield Barracks, December 7, 1941.” “One starts to get some sense of what this is all about…we are losing these eyewitnesses day by day,” said Packard, flanked by military flags, speaking from St. George’s Episcopal Church pulpit on his first visit to Pearl Harbor. “In Advent it is a reminder to live your life fully, robustly, and savor the moment…honoring the sacrifice (of many), moving forward in the journey…with the risk of that first step.” Packard joined the Rt. Rev. Richard S.O. Chang, bishop of the Diocese of Hawaii and St. George’s vicar, the Rev. Lance C. Horne, to lead worship December 7, the day commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the Japanese bombing of the island harbor, sinking the USS Arizona, killing more than 2,000 people and plunging the United States into World War II. “This church is dedicated as the Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel and is a witness to how important it is to strive for peace in the world today,” said Horne, knowing his congregation comprises people in all branches of the military serving in conflicts such as Iraq. “Up from the ashes that day stands St. George’s, where today we have eight baptisms, 13 confirmations and receptions. What a day to say the Episcopal Church is alive and well.” Designated “The Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel” by the Episcopal Church’s 58th General Convention meeting in Hawaii in 1955, St. George’s was built with offerings from the convention. The processional cross and an anchor-cross on the altar were formed from steel taken from the USS Arizona. Named St. George after the patron saint of the military, the church sits adjacent to the Pearl Harbor military base on Oahu. Most of the members of St. George’s serve, or are related to those who serve, in the military.