A son remembered the heroics of his father.
Robert Brooks, a Cypress resident, visited his father’s gravesite at Green Hills Memorial Park, in Rancho Palos Verdes, on Tuesday, Dec. 7, to honor the former U.S. sailor on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor assaults. His father, Eddie Brooks, survived the assault that received the United States into World War II — and Robert Brooks and his sister have made it their mission to make sure their dad’s legacy and that of Pearl Harbor by no means fades.
Tuesday marked the 79th anniversary of the day that, in the phrases of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “will live in infamy.”
But as a result of of the coronavirus pandemic, Pearl Harbor commemorations went digital.
So as a substitute, Robert Brooks visited his father, a San Pedro native who died 14 years in the past, to pay his respects. While his sister, Carolyn Brooks Wood, couldn’t accompany him as a result of she lives in Florida, a pal of Eddie Brooks did be part of him. That could be Akira Tsurukame, a Redondo Beach author who grew to become mates with Eddie Brooks throughout the final decade of the sailor’s life.
Their time at the gravesite was brief — they didn’t give the cemetery a heads up — however the pair stood at the gravesite of Eddie Brooks and remembered the man who was stationed on the USS Argonne, in Pearl Harbor, when the Dec. 7, 1941, assault by Japan occurred.
Robert Brooks put a Christmas wreath on the grave and Tsurukame put a poinsettia. Robert Brooks’s grownup daughter — she and her brother are the grandchildren of Eddie Brooks — put flags round the gravesite. And Robert Brooks gave his dad’s pal a replica of a portray he commissioned that exhibits Eddie Brooks throughout the bombing.
Eddie Brooks was born on Oct. 11, 1918, in a home at nineteenth and Gaffey streets, in San Pedro and was the son of a longshoreman.
Eddie Brooks began boxing at 8 years previous and nearly landed a component in the Paramount movie “Our Gang Comedy” — which led to the in style “Little Rascals” model. Providing for a tutor on the set, which might have been past the household’s means, nixed that risk. But Eddie Brooks continued boxing and gradated from San Pedro High in 1938. He gained a gold medal in boxing whereas serving with the National Guard and, in 1939, he joined the U.S. Navy.
Two years later, got here Pearl Harbor. The day earlier than the assault, Eddie Brooks hung out on the USS Arizona for a boxing exercise. His buddy Paul Neipp, additionally from San Pedro, was amongst his hosts.
The subsequent morning, Japan launched its shock assault.
The Argonne took some hits however managed to flee some of the heavy bombing as a result of the ship was sheltered by an overhead crane in the harbor that morning. The crew mobilized to supply help to their fellow sailors.
But inside 10 minutes of the assault, the Arizona was destroyed. Neipp’s title, together with Brooks’s, is on the World War II Memorial Wall in the Rancho Palos Verdes cemetery. Neipp’s title is also on the Arizona wall at the Pearl Harbor memorial in Hawaii.
Both Robert Brooks, a retired longshore foreman, and his sister have documented and spoken about their father’s experiences by way of the years. The tales of the devastation their father witnessed had been heartbreaking — they usually wish to guarantee the historical past just isn’t forgotten.
“I never got the whole story out of my father until I was older,” Robert Brooks advised Southern California News Group as soon as. “I had to pull it out of him. I don’t think I ever realized what kind of impact that had on him.”
Robert Brooks mentioned he and his sister wish to go to Pearl Harbor subsequent 12 months, for the eightieth anniversary.
But at the least one member of the household additionally makes a pilgrimage to Green Hills yearly to pay their respects to their father.
It’s a dedication Robert Brooks continued Tuesday.