WAYLAND — More than seven decades after thousands of military men lost their lives on the shores of Pearl Harbor, we come together to honor them.
On Dec. 9 the Wayland American Legion had Southern Tier All Star Jazz Band and American Bombshells play the music of the era for the local veterans.
American Bombshells Katie Hicks, Jaz Zepatos, and newcomer, Gabi Whiting enjoyed being at the Legion for this special event. They all agree that the mission of the American Bombshells is an inspiration for the 15 girls involved.
“I really love the mission of the American Bombshells, and I wanted to be part of that mission,” Whiting said. “We have all become a sisterhood. I am an actress, singer, and dancer in New York City. I worked with Motown before joining this group. I just started out with American Bombshells in August.”
Hicks said that it has been really nice working with all the other girls in the group. She has been an American Bombshell for eight years.
“It is really nice since we all come from different backgrounds. Our mission is to give back as much as we can to the veterans. That is what American Bombshells is all about,” she said. “We are so lucky and grateful to continue spreading that message all over the world.”
Zepatos is an actress working in the comedy scene and a singer. She has been an American Bombshell for five years now.
“When I am a mother I know my children will not have to opportunity to meet a World War II veteran,” she said. “That realization makes what we do that much more special to me. The process of becoming an American Bombshell is a hard one. We need to make sure the girls have talent and can respect the veterans.”
Hicks said being back at the Wayland American Legion is amazing.
“We all have the same mission here,” she said. “We want to honor and respect these veterans. We are all about the hearts and minds of these veterans.”
The American Bombshells said they would love to go visit Pearl Harbor someday, and be able to bring that mission down there.
Zepatos said that being part of this group is unlike anything else she has ever experienced.
“We have all created a family here,” she said. “I like when we are able to go to one of the girls hometowns. We get to know a lot more about them, and where they come from.”
The American Bombshells are now part of the West Coast as well.
“It is really exciting to have two groups. We have girls at the West Coast honoring veterans. We are here on the East Coast spreading our mission,” she said. “We have other amazing programs like Boots and Suits. This helps veterans get the things they need to feel confident in the workforce. We are now working on getting support dogs for veterans too.”
Hicks added that wherever they go veterans are always thanking them for what they do.
“They are the most humble people I have ever met,” she said. “They keep thanking us for our service to them. We keep telling them that it is them we thank for keeping us free.”
Jamie Steele brought an authentic Pearl Harbor Day newspaper to the show, and the girls thought it was really neat to see the article on Dec. 8, 1941 still intact 77 years later.