Pirates’ focus goes beyond hoops in Pearl Harbor

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The Hall embraced the chance to play on Pearl Harbor’s anniversary with a victory over Hawaii. Photo via SHU Athletics.

The “day that will live in infamy” continues to touch many who survived, lived through or had family members experience the tragedy in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Seton Hall men’s basketball got to experience the sites first hand this week leading up to its appearances in the Pearl Harbor Invitational and the 75th anniversary of the attacks.

The Pirates were able to visit the Pearl Harbor site while learning about one of the deadliest attacks on American soil in it’s history.

“When you have the opportunity to educate the current generation on the greatness of the past generations, I don’t think you can pass that up,” coach Kevin Willard said.

As a team, the Hall got to tour the Pearl Harbor Memorial and hear the horrific tales of the Japanese attacks that killed over 2,000 Americans all those years ago.

“We got to go on one of the battleships and the U.S.S. Arizona memorial and it is hard to see all of the soldiers that passed,” Seton Hall guard Madison Jones said. “To see how many family members and brothers and fathers and sons that passed away.”

Jones knows more than most, coming from a military family himself. Lattie Hunter Jr., Jones’ grandfather, served in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Army. His grandfather died due to complications sustained in the war, though years later.

“We talked with different soldiers and saw what they have to go through every day,” Jones said. “We need to be grateful for the things we have. Talking to someone who has been in the Army or the Navy, it really opens your eyes.”

Despite a tough travel schedule in nonconference play, Willard knew that this educational opportunity in Honolulu was something that his players needed to experience for themselves.

“It is a phenomenal opportunity for this generation to understand the sacrifices of past generations,” Willard said. “What an honor it is to play in this country, what an honor it is when the Anthem plays, and how many soldiers have lost their lives so we can play this great game.”

After seeing some of the histroic sites, Jones said he and his teammates were grateful to be playing in Hawaii.

“It is a dream come true,” Jones said. “Huge blessing on the 75th anniversary and can’t ask for much more than to celebrate with our country.”

Editor’s Note: Sean Saint Jacques was on-location in Hawaii for WSOU, Seton Hall’s radio station.

He can be reached at sean.saintjacques@student.shu.edu or on Twitter @SSaintJ7.

Author: Sean Saint Jacques

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