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Auburn Ave to host WWII's USS Indianapolis Tribute with survivor George Horvath

George Horvath, a survivor of the USS Indianapolis, tells his harrowing story at the Auburn Ave on Nov. 8. Providing historical context will be Kim Roller, right, who will present a multimedia presentation. - Courtesy photo
George Horvath, a survivor of the USS Indianapolis, tells his harrowing story at the Auburn Ave on Nov. 8. Providing historical context will be Kim Roller, right, who will present a multimedia presentation.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

A World War II USS Indianapolis Tribute, with survivor George Horvath as the guest of honor, has been added to Auburn's Veterans Day Observance weekend.

The presentation is 6:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Auburn Avenue Theater, 10 Auburn Ave.

The event is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Horvath, a resident of Phoenix, Ariz., and one of the few remaining survivors from the USS Indianapolis CA-35, will share his memories of the U.S. Navy's largest single disaster at sea.

Providing historical context is Kim Roller, whose vintage WWII-era dress sets the stage for her moving multimedia presentation.

The heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis delivered components for the world's first operational atomic bomb (later dropped on Hiroshima by the Enola Gay) to the Pacific Island of Tinian on July 26, 1945. Four days later, the ship was torpedoed and sank with 1,197 men on board. Approximately 900 men got off the ship into shark-infested waters between Guam and Leyte, Philippines.

Due to Navy reporting issues, nobody knew the ship was missing and no rescue was mounted. Purely by chance, the men were spotted from an aircraft and the rescue ships were called to the area. Of the 900 who initially survived the sinking, only 317 remained alive, surviving five days of constant shark attacks, starvation, thirst, hypothermia and wounds.

Also in attendance will be Alexis Shuman, the daughter of Lt. Adrian Marks. He was the pilot of the PBY who heroically defied orders not to land and rescued 56 men from a shark attack that was under way when he flew over.

Horvath and Shuman will be introduced by Roller, as she gives a day-by-day overview of the horrific ordeal.

About Auburn's Veterans Day Observance

The National Veterans Day Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense selected the City of Auburn as one of the few regional sites for Veterans Day Observance in 2012.

The Nov. 10 mile-long parade, one of the largest of its kind in the United States, includes more than 5,500 parade participants and features military marching units and vehicles, veteran units, marching bands, honor guards, drill teams, antique military vehicles and equipment, as well as floats, antique cars and more.

The parade will proceed west on Main Street from E Street Southeast to A Street Northwest, beginning at 11 a.m.

Other events related to the Veterans Day celebration in Auburn include a Remembrance Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park, a Static Display & Exhibit Showcase, a breakfast and luncheon to honor veterans, the state's largest marching band competition and much more.

For additional details and event information, visit www.auburnwa.gov/events or call 253-931-3043.

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