HAWAII (CBSMiami) — It’s been seven decades since the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II, but for some Miami-Dade teens commemorating the event was transformative for them.
According to our news partners The Miami Herald, Young Marines Master Sgt. Oscar Piñate, 17, of Miami Springs, and Lance Cpl. Albert Villalobos, 16, of Little Havana, are members of the Pfc. Bruce W. Carter Young Marines. It’s the unit in Doral of the national education and service nonprofit that works with children ages 8 to 18.
The two laid wreaths out Friday at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in memory of those buried there.
More than 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II have been laid to rest at that cemetery.
According to the Miami Herald, Master Sgt. Piñate and Lance Cpl. Villalobos later reflected on that moment and called it “solemn” and “humbling.”
The group is in Hawaii to mark the 72nd anniversary of the attack through a weekend of activities.
Oscar, a junior at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami told the Miami Herald, “The first image you see is a huge statue of Lady Freedom and it is amazing how you can be in such a solemn ground, where there are many of our veterans who gave their lives for their freedom in World War II. It’s a humbling experience to be a part of that.”
Oscar along with Albert,a freshman at Miami Jackson Senior High, marched Saturday in a Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu and helped carry banners of the 12 U.S. Navy capital ships that were attacked the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.
The pair said the experience helped confirm their passion for the U.S. military.
Albert told the Miami Herald, “I see myself standing in basic training, becoming a proud Marine. I will make a career out of it and spend my entire life in the military serving our great nation.”