Beloit World War II veterans commemorate Pearl Harbor attack

Courtesy of WIFR
Courtesy of WIFR(NBC15)
Published: Dec. 7, 2018 at 3:24 PM CST
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Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin welcomed two World War II veterans to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

George Olson, 92, and Stan Van Hoose, 98, both of Beloit, joined an educational program Friday night, hosted by the veteran non-profit VetsRoll.

The audience had the chance to ask the veterans about their wartime experiences in a Q&A question, as well as watch a documentary about a VetsRoll-hosted trip that brought veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit monuments and museums this year.

The program was held at the Fort Atkinson Library Pearl Harbor Day program. Doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and the program began at 6 p.m.

Van Hoose is one of the few remaining veterans of the Pearl Harbor attack. Van Hoose was serving aboard the U.S.S. Maryland when Japan attacked the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. While Van Hoose’s ship survived the deadly day, the ship it was tied to, the U.S.S. Oklahoma, was torpedoed and partially sank.

The Japanese surprise attack against Pearl Harbor brought the previously neutral U.S. into World War II.

Olson served on the destroyer U.S.S. Twiggs during the bloody Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Later that year Olson survived the sinking of the Twiggs after a Japanese air attack. Almost half of his fellow sailors did not survive.

Just under 500,000 American veterans are still alive in 2018, out of the 16 million Americans who served during the war, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Beloit-based VetsRoll organizes trips for American veterans across the U.S. to visit Washington, D.C. Every year they bring buses full of veterans who served before 1966 to visit war-themed museums and monuments in the capitol city. The trips cost about $400,000 every year, raised through fundraisers.

Learn more about the non-profit