" 'I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense,' " she said to those gathered in the VA chapel.
More than 60 people crowded into the chapel Wednesday afternoon Dec. 7 for a Pearl Harbor Observance Day program.
"Article I of the CoC applies to all Service members at all times," Specks said.
"A member of the Armed Forces has a duty to support U.S. interests and oppose U.S. enemies regardless of the circumstances, whether located in a combat environment or in captivity," she said.
"Today we pay homage to and pause to say thank you for defending our nation's freedom and the liberty afforded to every citizen of the United States of America," Specks said.
Then, quoting Winston Churchill, she said: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
Specks said that "the call to arms on Dec. 7, 1941, 70 years ago will never be forgotten. Each year we come to celebrate and to recognize those who were there on that day in Hawaii."
Specks noted that residential service organization officers had told her that a Mr. Brasher, an 89-year-old patient in the VA's Medical Center's nursing home/community living center, was on the field at Pearl Harbor.
"He was not able to attend today but we want to make sure that we honor him because he was on the battlefield at Pearl Harbor," she said.
Chaplain Richard Moore gave the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Elizabeth Neumann, EVAL Alumni, Chaplain Service, followed by the Veterans Choir singing "God Bless America."
Donald Hardison, environmental management services, read an account of Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor which killed more than 2,000 and injured more than 1,000.
Dr. Paul A. Molinar, acting chief of staff, presented a salute to veterans by representatives from all five branches of the U.S. armed forces, Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, and the Louisiana National Guard.
"We proudly salute our veterans, yesterday, today and tomorrow," Molinar said.
The VA Medical Center Choir sang "America the Beautiful." VA Nurse Executive Amy Lesniewski recognized surviving World War II veterans by asking those who were able to stand, whom the audience gave a round of applause.
"On this date 70 years ago, the attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II," Lesniewski said.
"On Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt is quoted as saying, 'This will be a date that will live in infamy,' " she said.
"The deadly attack on Pearl Harbor did not accomplish its mission of breaking the American spirit. Quite the contrary -- 16 million of America's sons and daughters served during World War II, and more than 400,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of life and liberty," Lesniewski said.
"Countless others served on the home front aiding the war effort by working in manufacturing plants, participating in the rationing program or by planting victory gardens," she said.
"In the face of great loss, America showed the resilience and strength that has always been characterized by our great country," Lesniewski said.
"We thank all veterans for going when called ... your unselfish act secured our peaceful shores and aided in securing their homes and allies overseas," she said.
In her "words of thanks," VA Associate Director Yolanda Sanders-Jackson also noted that "this greatest generation that answered this call was made up of people just like you and me: husbands, wives, sons, daughters, sisters, neighbors and friends."
"These brave men and women put their lives on the line to defend against tyranny while families kept the home fires burning," she said.
"We owe them all a debt that will never be repaid. We thank our World War II veterans for their service and sacrifice to our country and for being with us today as we respectfully honor them and their families," Sanders-Jackson said.
"May God richly bless you, may His face continue to shine on each and every one of you and may God continue to bless our great nation," she said.
Chaplain Marla Munn gave the benediction, followed by toastmaster Janice Bridges announcing refreshments in the lobby where displays of uniforms, photos and newspaper clips from World War II were set up.