2018 Pearl Harbor Ceremony – Southwest DeKalb High School Marching Band

Now for the latest sixth district news!  Last July, our sixth district director was contacted by Ms. Judy Thompson with Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Georgia.  The school’s marching band was scheduled to perform in the upcoming Thanksgiving Day parade – in Hawaii.  They were also scheduled to take part in several other concerts and the official Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremony on December 7, 2018.

Ms. Thomson was hoping someone from SDPHS would be able to speak to the band about the attack on Pearl Harbor before they left for Hawaii.  She also ask whether it would be possible for the band director to record an interview with a Pearl Harbor survivor.  Of course we happy to accommodate both requests.  Al met with them on November 12th for about two hours.  Saying they were eager to learn about the attack doesn’t come close to describing their excitement.  They really like the slide show pics.  The Q&A session lasted almost an hour.  We also scheduled a meeting with the band director and GA PHS Fred Johnson.  Unfortunately, the interview with Fred had to be pushed back until after the band’s trip.  Here are pics of the band performing at the USS Missouri and the wreath they’ll be placing.  We can’t wait to see more of them.  Don’t be surprised if SDPHS suddenly get flooded with new associate members!






2nd Lieutenant Michael Raiford, USMC

A few weeks before our 2011 Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony, a young Navy JROTC Cadet named Michael Raiford from Heritage High School in Conyers Georgia expressed a desire to hand out programs, escort guests to their seats, and make sure all our Pearl Harbor Survivors and their families had plenty of water.  Having known him his entire life, I was more than happy to have him help.  I must say he did a great job.  Here’s a picture showing Michael in his JROTC uniform.


Navy JROTC Cadet Michael Raiford, 2011


Michael went on to attend the US Naval Academy, majoring in economics.  He’s earned three varsity letters as a member of the academy’s football team.  However, the real reason I’ve included him in this report is to ensure everyone knows he’s now graduated from the  US Naval Academy and received a commission in the Marine Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant.  He plans to join SDPHS as an associate member.  I’m so proud of the man he’s become; always willing to serve others.


2nd Lieutenant Michael Raiford

United States Marine Corps

Class of 2018


Here’s a few more pics of Michael and the family..