On the morning of December 7, 1941 three Japanese torpedos struck the U.S.S. Utah causing it to sink at Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Flag was above water flying at half-mast from the stern, and alert sailors retrieved it.
The photo above shows the U.S.S. Utah shortly after it was sunk. The U.S. flag can be clearly seen in the photo.
Army Brig. Gen. Carl Timmerman, dressed in a historic Civil War uniform, presented the flag from the U.S.S. Utah at an Eagle Scout Ceremony for David Bresnahan, 16. He told those present that the flag had been raised shortly before the attack, but because of a problem with the line it would only raise to half-mast that fateful morning.
The flag, like many historic artifacts, was given to Gen. Timmerman for preservation. He has a very large collection dating back to the Revolutionary War and going forward to the present day. He enjoys showing his collection, and telling the stories that go with it, to youth groups, Boy Scouts, and school assemblies. He says his goal is to help the youth of America learn about the sacrifices that were made for them.
The flag from the U.S.S. Utah was carried by David’s older brother Navy Yeoman Seaman Michael J. Bresnahan, with color guards Joseph Bresnahan (his younger brother) and Zach Peffer, both Life Scouts. After the Eagle Ceremony, David presented his brother Michael with the Eagle Scout Mentor pin to thank him for the example he has been, which motivated David to work hard to become and Eagle like his brother Michael.
Those who are still alive and were living at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor are dwindling in number and will soon be gone. Gen. Timmerman hopes that by letting the youth of today see and touch history it will help them to understand and appreciate the heritage of freedom that is theirs.
David met Gen. Timmerman at an Order of the Arrow summer camp event in 2008 and again in 2009. At those events he was able to see, touch and learn about many historic items Gen. Timmerman placed on display for the Scouts to see. David said he wanted to help others see the flag from the U.S.S. Utah because it made such an impression on him by seeing it in person.
David is a member of Varsity Team 645 and Venturer Crew 2179. He is a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, the national honor society of Scouting. This past summer he worked as a member of the staff at Camp Steiner as an assistant to the rifle range director. He also taught first aid and CPR at the Webelos Day Camp.
David organized and directed the reconstruction of 40 feet of a 400 foot suspension bridge used by Navajo Indians.
The bridge had become so rotted that it was dangerous to use. David learned of the problem from a teach at school who grew up on the reservation where the bridge is essential for members of the community to cross a river to get to local stores, a medical clinic, and church.
David organized the bridge reconstruction, obtaining volunteers, finding experts in engineering, safety, and construction, and he was able to get all the necessary supplies donated for the project.