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On December 7, 1941, the United States unofficially entered World War II after the surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor. December 7 remains a day that lives in infamy as the catalyst for the U.S. entering the war, as well as a haunting memory for those who witnessed the attack. For Pearl Harbor survivor John Busma, a resident of Valencia Terrace (a Kisco Senior Living Community) it’s a moment in time that forever changed his life. At 101 years old, Busma remembers the details of the attack as if it happened yesterday and has never forgotten what it was like to bear witness to the horrors of war. This is one reason why Busma believes in the importance of observing Veterans Day and remembering all who served our country. Busma will be one of 40 veterans who live at Valencia Terrace in attendance at the senior living community’s Veterans Day celebration on Sunday, November 11 at 10:00 a.m. at the community (2300 S Main St). Valencia Terrace would like to invite the public to join them for this special event to honor all who have selflessly served our country and sacrificed their own lives for our freedom.

“I remember everything from that day, and it’s something I’ll never forget,” said Busma. “We lost so many good men, and it was incredibly difficult knowing there wasn’t anything we could do. When the attack began, I was aboard the USS Medusa, a repair ship, and we were just far off enough from the war ships to avoid the full force of the attack. Looking back, I can see just how blessed I was and have never taken for granted the life I’ve been able to live. Remembering the sacrifice of those who served our country is the least I can do for those who never made it home.”

Busma enlisted with the Navy in 1935 and was supposed to have returned stateside shortly before the attack, as his enlistment was up. However, due to a last-minute order from President Roosevelt he was unable to return home. A simple change of plans and fate placed Busma where he never imagined he would be. It’s this knowledge that carried Busma through the war and throughout his military career. Today, he often wonders how different his life would have been without experiencing Pearl Harbor on that fateful day. As Veterans Day approaches, Busma and his fellow veteran residents at Valencia Terrace are reminded once again of their service, those they served with and the many men and women who protect our freedoms today.

“At Valencia Terrace, we believe in the importance of honoring those who have served our country,” said Dyan Summerell, executive director of Valencia Terrace. “We’re honored to have heroes like John Busma who call our community home and are proud to share their stories in the hopes that history will never be forgotten. We hope that on this Veterans Day others will be inspired to share their own stories and the stories of the men and women who have defended liberty and our home.”  

For members of the public interested in attending this special event, please call (951) 273-1300 to RSVP. The outdoor event will begin at 10:00 am. The event will begin with the Presentation of Colors, songs performed by the Valencia Terrace Chorus, and will include guest speakers. Additionally, the anthem of each military branch will be played at the conclusion of the event, allowing those in attendance to pay tribute. The community would also like to invite guests to stay for a barbecue lunch.