It’s a time to honor those who’ve served in the military. It’s a time to remember precious lives lost. It’s a time just to say thank you. A Memorial Day service was held at South Middle School, a service held for 69 years. Today, it started with the remembrance of December 7, 1941 and the memory of one specific Henderson man, Admiral Husband Kimmel.
“He was a true hero. There isn’t any question in my mind about that,” said Henderson War Memorial Foundation Vice President Ken Christopher.
Kimmel was Commander-In-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was blamed for the attack.
“An easy target for the politicians in Washington to say ‘Hey, it’s your fault and they demoted their ranks,” said Henderson War Memorial Foundation committee member Tom Davis.
He was ranked as a four-star Rear Admiral. He was removed from command after the attack and reduced to the two-star rank of Rear Admiral. Kimmel retired as a two-star Rear Admiral in early 1942.
“It may not sound like much but your career and his life was in the navy and it’s still a black mark on his record,” said Davis.
The Henderson War Memorial Foundation wants his rank restored.
“He was exonerated by the full senate in 1999 but no president has ever done it,” said Christopher.
Now, it’s a waiting game. The foundation has to get a petition to get President Obama to review it. Interestingly enough, then Senator Joe Biden sponsored the bill which recommended giving Admiral Kimmel’s rank back in 1999.
“It’s more wanting to make sure one of our favorite sons gets that little black mark there beside his name for all that service he did and then to have that one little thing take it away,” said Davis.
For Kimmel’s family, it’s a challenge they’ve endured all their life.
“They have worked their lives to get Admiral Kimmel exonerated and restore his full right of four stars. The family is still around so those folks are the ones I would want to see get over this hurdle once and for all,” said Christopher.
A prayer the Kimmel family hopes will soon be answered.