Drive-By Birthday Parade Held For 102-Year Old Pearl Harbor Survivor (With Photo Gallery)

May 25, 2020

A drive-by birthday party was held Sunday afternoon in Gonzalez for 102-year old Pearl Harbor survivor Frank Emond.

Emond, CWO4 USN (RET.), spen t his naval career as a musician and band director. He was on the stern of the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) getting ready to play morning “Colors” on his French horn when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Emond then walked to the conductor’s stand, picked up the baton and proceeded to direct the band in “Stars and Stripes.”

After seven years of playing horn, he became a Navy bandleader, retiring in 1968.

For a photo gallery, click here.

“I’m about the last one (Pearl Harbor survivor) left around here,” Emond said.

He’s still a musical man; sometimes he still leads the music at Gonzalez United Methodist Church. He still performs with the Pensacola Civic Band. The Guinness Book of World Records named him the “Oldest Musical Conducter” in the world last year after he participated in a 2019 Memorial Day concert.

The church planned the parade as a big surprise and thank you for Emond, who turned 102 last Thursday. Emond stood for the entire 20-minute parade, spryly waving and walking up to vehicles to receive cards and presents. Several men stopped to salute.

The parade included the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, the Patriot Guard, motorcycle and car clubs, Pensacola’s Boat Car, a long line of well wishers and more.

“It was really special,” Emond said with a little smile on his face. “Somebody went to a lot of trouble on this for me. I really appreciate it.”

For a photo gallery, click here.

Pictured: A drive-by 102nd birthday party for Pearl Harbor survivor Frank Emond Sunday at the Gonzalez United Methodist Church. photos by William Reynolds, click to enlarge.


13 Responses to “Drive-By Birthday Parade Held For 102-Year Old Pearl Harbor Survivor (With Photo Gallery)”

  1. Dan Jacobs, MU2 on June 23rd, 2020 9:50 am

    Frank Emond was and will always be my idol.

    I was in the Navy band stationed at N.A.S. Pensacola, FL in ‘65 & ‘66 when he was the leader. Frank was always professional, patient, effective and made us all proud to be part of his band. He holds an honored place in my life. I will miss him. – Dan Jacobs, MU2

  2. Ed Neal on June 6th, 2020 10:14 am

    I hope that you have many more! I am thankful that I had the pleasure of being in your Navy band in Pensacola from 1963-1965. I enjoyed our telephone conversation recently and think of you often. Thanks again for the profile poster you sent me!

    Ed Neal

  3. Charles R Donahue on May 27th, 2020 9:24 pm

    Thank You Frank for the life example as a God Fearing Christian who served America faithfully in ALL of your YEARS, as member of the US Navy and as man of music and
    most of as a PATRIOTIC Man of GOD. Fair winds My Friend. !

  4. HT1/USN/RET on May 27th, 2020 8:44 am

    HOOYAA CWO!! Hand salute to you sir! Belated Happy Birthday.

  5. Margaret Noble on May 26th, 2020 9:29 pm

    Happy Birthday. Lived on the lake across from you back in early 90’s. Still have the masted sailing ship that you drew. Yes, he is an artist also. Love ya.

  6. Bonnie Exner on May 26th, 2020 2:12 am

    BARRINEAU PARK HISTORICAL SOCIETY had the pleasure of having MR.EMOND as a guest speaker at our CHRISTMAS DINNER a few years ago…he had us all spell bound retelling his experiences at PEARL HARBOR NAVAL BASE DEC 7,1941
    Happy 102th birthday, sir..and thank you for your service.

  7. Angela on May 25th, 2020 5:04 pm

    Oh my stars!!! This is absolutely wonderful. I am sure he was so thrilled. Love this!

  8. Mike Moore on May 25th, 2020 4:36 pm

    Frank the legend!
    This is my father n law and I thank you all for showing him love. It’s been a tuff year on the ole fella but you can’t ever count him out! No doubt he appreciated and enjoyed the attention!

  9. Beverly C Carini on May 25th, 2020 3:57 pm

    My late husband, Francis Joseph Carini, was a veteran of the Korean War. He spent 38.5 years in the USAF. He passed in 2012, but would have been honored to have met you. The world needs more men like you! Thank you for your service and sacrifices for my freedoms and for the USA. May God continue to bless you. Happy Birthday!

  10. Tabby on May 25th, 2020 1:55 pm

    Wow ! What a gift it must be to know this man and share his knowledge, his memories.
    Thank you for your service Mr. Emond.

  11. JTV on May 25th, 2020 11:43 am

    Happy 102 Sir, Thank you for your service, and God Bless You.

  12. Teresa Lott on May 25th, 2020 10:49 am

    It was a wonderful parade! Thank you to all that came out! Frank was so surprised and happy!

  13. Elijah Bell on May 25th, 2020 8:40 am

    Thank you Mr. Emond for you service so many years ago. May God bless you.

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