WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump kibitzed with World War II veterans at the White House on Thursday as he signed a proclamation declaring it National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
A half dozen veterans of the attack, wearing medals and military hats, attended the ceremony and bantered with the president as he commemorated their service.
“All American hearts are filled with gratitude for their service, their sacrifice and their presence here today,” Trump said.
Among those attending was 98-year-old Mickey Ganitch, who was on the USS Pennsylvania’s football team and getting ready for a championship game against the crew of the USS Arizona when Japan attacked.
“You never got that game, huh?” asked the president.
“We had a war to fight,” Ganitch responded before kneeling to mimic his best football move — and repeating the move at Trump’s request.
Ganitch later broke out into song, delivering a rendition of “Remember Pearl Harbor.”
“You really made this very exciting,” Trump remarked, thanking him for the “free entertainment.”
Trump said he hoped the vets would join him every year to mark the occasion for the next — presuming he runs and wins re-election — seven years.
“Today our entire nation pauses to remember Pearl Harbor and the brave warriors who on that day stood tall and fought for America,” he said.
The president invited the men to see the Oval Office after the signing, promising them pens and autographs.
Trump last month paid a visit to Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor and its memorial to the USS Arizona before he departed for his first trip to Asia. The surprise attack by Japan killed more than 2,400 Americans and plunged the U.S. into World War II.