January 31, 2023

Our veterans have sacrificed so much for us, it is incredibly important that we continue to recognize their bravery and celebrate them while they are still with us!

Gary Sinise is an actor who has made sure all veterans know they are special to us!

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans on Wednesday was set to host an extravagant event for World War II veterans. People with flags were lined outside the venue to celebrate the oldest living veteran from the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor.

The event was mainly to honor 105-year-old Joseph Eskenazi of Redondo Beach, California. “It feels great,” Eskenazi told the media.

Eskenazi is now a great-grandfather and joining him at the event were his 5-year-old great-grandson as well as his 21-month-old great-granddaughter.

Eskenazi turns 105 on January 30th and boarded the Amtrak train in California on Friday so he could reach New Orleans for the event. Other veterans representing the Army, Navy, and Marines, also flew in for the event.

This was all thanks to actor Gary Sinise’s Soaring Valor Program, a charitable foundation dedicated to aiding veterans and first responders. The program arranges trips to the museum for World War II veterans and their guardians.

Eskenazi was a private first class in the Army when the Pearl Harbor attack happened. He distinctly remembers the attack describing being woken up by a bomb falling near to where he was sleeping but failing to explode.

He also recalled the Schofield Barracks, reverberating with explosions as the battleship USS Arizona was sunk due to Japanese bombs. The veteran recalls that the machine gun fire from enemy planes was kicking up dust around them, and he still volunteered to drive a bulldozer across a field so it could be cleared and used as a runway.

“I don’t even know why — my hand just went up when they asked for volunteers,” Eskenazi remembered. “Nobody else raised their hand because they knew that it meant death. … I did it unconsciously.”

He was one of the servicemen at the Army’s Schofield Barracks when the December, 7th 1941, attack began, which brought the United States into the war. About 2,400 servicemen were killed.

At the museum today, Eskenazi along with other veterans took pictures with various World War II aircraft as well as the Higgins boats, which were specifically designed for beach landings.

“Thank you guys for providing us a country that was worth fighting for,” veteran Billy Hall, who rose to the rank of major in the Marines after he enlisted in 1941, said to the crowd.

What an incredibly beautiful event to be a part of. We are wishing all these veterans a long healthy life and salute them for their service.

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