Alan Paley, JWV National Commander and Honored Guest, Addresses Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona

Nancy Stutman

Alan Paley, Jewish War Veterans (JWV) national commander, was invited to speak at the 80th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony on Dec. 7, 2021, in Phoenix. Commander Paley’s appearance was sponsored by the Arizona Department of the Southwest, including Scottsdale Post 210 Valley of the Sun, Copper State Post 619 Sun Lakes, and Post 201 Tucson.

At 10:15 a.m., a helicopter landed with two World War II female veterans being escorted to VIP seating at the U.S.S. Arizona anchor in Wesley Bolin Plaza. A commemorative Flyover was performed by members of the Stearman Group with WW II bi-planes at 10:55 a.m.—the time when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Speakers included Arizona Governor Doug Ducey; JWV National Commander Alan Paley; and Commander Kevin “KK” Kahl, executive officer, Navy Talent Acquisition Group Phoenix.

The address given by Commander Paley focused on the sacrifices made that day by the Navy personnel and our country’s reaction to the attack. Those military personnel who survived witnessed horrific losses, and many went on to serve in other critical battles in the Pacific.

Laying of wreaths by 75 Arizona veterans service organizations and patriotic groups included Jewish war veterans. The Scottsdale Post 210 Valley of the Sun wreath was laid by past department commander and current NEC Lou Kelter, together with his wife Ruth. The Sun Lakes Copper State Post 619 wreath was laid by Commander Charles Wolin and his wife Judy.

Commander Paley’s Arizona visit began Dec. 5 with a welcome lunch hosted by Post 210 at Kitchen 18 kosher restaurant in Scottsdale. He then presided over the first public menorah lighting with other dignitaries at the Arizona State Veteran Home in Phoenix, which opened in November 1995.

Monday, representatives of both Phoenix area posts joined Commander Paley at his meetings, first with Colonel (Ret.) Wanda Wright, the director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, followed by Dr. Alyshia Smith, director of the Phoenix VA Medical Center. In the afternoon they received a historical tour of the National Memorial Cemetery in Carefree, one of the most unique national cemeteries in the nation. Tuesday, Dec. 7, Commander Paley was an honored guest and speaker at the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony in Phoenix. His final event was a farewell dinner in his honor, hosted by Copper State Post 619 at Chompie’s Restaurant in Chandler.

Rochel Hayman made all the arrangements but was unable to participate, because her son tested positive for COVID-19 before the National Commander’s arrival. She serves as the zenior vice commander at Department of the Southwest and is national chair of the JWV Gulf War Committee.