Valley veterans gather in remembrance of Pearl Harbor attacks
Valley veterans gathered today on what marks 77 years since the Pearl Harbor attacks.
On Dec. 7, 1941, over 2,400 Americans lost their lives when Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.
Today, hundreds of veterans from all different tours, and all parts of the Valley, gathered to pay their respects at the McAllen Performing Arts Center.
"I remember all the news going on at the time, the Japanese attacks, all the disaster they did, all the killings they did, all the troops that died in that time," said Ricardo Chapa, an 88-year-old Korean War Veteran from Mission.
Chapa went into the Army right after high school and eventually became a Sergeant in the Korean War.
"I felt a stronger loyalty to my country and a sense of responsibility that sometime along my life I would have to defend my country and stand up."
Chapa, a Purpple Heart Recipient, was shot in the leg on his 21st birthday during his tour of service in the Korean War.
"I'm very fortunate to have my leg, it blew both my bones out, it was very bad."
After the injury, Chapa was sent back to the Valley.
"They wanted to keep me, but I said no, I'm going back home. Going back home to Mama's tortillas, I missed those flour tortillas," said Chapa.
Chapa is not the only veteran from the Valley who was wounded in combat. Zenon Yracheta, an Edinburg veteran, was also wounded in combat. He was shot in the Vietnam War.
“We're there to defend our country, our freedom and the way of living," says Yracheta. Never forgetting the thousands of men and women who didn't come home.
"A lot of soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice, we defend what we stand for."