A survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor will be grand marshal for the parade at this year's Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival.

A survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor will be grand marshal for the parade at this year's Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival.

Milton Mapou will have that honorary title for parade, which will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5, during the festival.

Mapou, 94, will not only be in the parade, but will make two other appearances during the festival, Canal Winchester Mayor Michael Ebert said.

"He will be at the Stradley Stage from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Monday just after the parade, weather permitting, to talk about his experiences," Ebert said.

"Mr. Mapou is a survivor of not just one, but two World War II battles -- the Pearl Harbor attack aboard the USS Detroit and kamikaze attacks while aboard the USS Pringle at Okinawa, Japan," Ebert said. "Milton is an amazing person with amazing life experiences like few of us will ever experience. The Canal Winchester Labor Day committee recognizes him for his bravery and service to our nation.

"Milton hopes to return to Pearl Harbor this December for the 75th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor, which was described by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt as 'A date that will live in infamy,' " Ebert said.

"I think it's a great honor," said Mapou of his being chosen as this year's grand marshal.

Talking about his war experiences is nothing new for Mapou, who regularly appears at the Motts Military Museum in Groveport to discuss them, usually on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

It's a big year for the veteran.

The effort to return to Pearl Harbor is being coordinated by another central Ohio resident, Greg Keller, a veterans advocate who assisted Mapou in recording a DVD featuring in-depth interviews of Mapou discussing surviving the attack. They are using the DVD as a fundraising tool to raise money for Mapou's participation in the anniversary events coming up in December. Keller and Mapou met through Motts Military Museum.

The ship Mapou served on in 1941, the USS Detroit, was attacked, leaving him injured and in a body cast, which he remained in for a year, he said.

He hasn't been back to the area since 1945, Mapou said.

"We are planning to go see the ship, which is tied up in that area now," he said.

"It will bring back a lot of memories."

The centerpiece of events in remembrance of the attack will be a joint National Park Service/U.S. Navy memorial ceremony at Kilo Pier, within sight of the USS Arizona Memorial and the docked battleship, USS Missouri, site of the Sept. 2, 1945, Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.

While previous ceremonies have been held at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, this year's ceremony will be held at Kilo Pier to accommodate upwards of 6,000 attendees.

"As a distinguished guest, Mr. Mapou will occupy a seat of honor at the joint ceremony. In addition to other dignitaries, President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend. The president will have the honor of meeting Milt and other attack survivors," Keller said.

"We're honored to have Mr. Mapou lead the Canal Winchester Labor Day Parade. As a WWII veteran, Purple Heart recipient and survivor of Pearl Harbor, he is an American hero. Mr. Mapou's distinguished service as a member of our military serves as an example of courage and leadership. We encourage all central Ohio residents to visit Mr. Mapou during the 96th annual Labor Day Festival," said Amanda Lemke, the city's events and communications coordinator.

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