Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. From peaceful Hollyhill, Kentucky. But Dad and lots of others are remembering a day twenty-five years ago that wasn’t peaceful. A terrible Sunday that changed all their lives. The day Pearl Harbor was attacked. “A day of infamy.” That’s what Dad says the president then, President Roosevelt called it.
Dad put pictures about the USS Arizona in the paper today. That’s the ship that was bombed and was destroyed, killing over a thousand soldiers. Just a few years ago a memorial was built right on top of the sunken ship. Dad says it’s a place where people can go to remember, but that a person doesn’t have to go to Hawaii to remember. We can remember wherever we are. He says that everybody who was old enough to know anything remembers exactly where they were on that Sunday the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I wasn’t born yet so I can’t remember, but I have heard plenty of adults talk about that day.
They say it started out a Sunday like any other December Sunday. Everybody was thinking about Christmas. Miss Sally says she was getting things ready to practice the children’s Christmas play at church. Wes says that was another life ago and he would rather not talk about it. Aunt Love says she was working the Sunday crossword puzzle in her little apartment in town where she lived before she moved in with us. She heard people shouting out on the street and went outside to get the news. She said every church in the county, probably in the whole country, had a prayer meeting that night instead of whatever they had planned. It was that kind of thing. Terrible news that instantly changed everything. Everybody knew it meant we would be in the war.
Dad says he had just come out of the movies when somebody yelled the news at him and his friends on the street. At first they didn’t believe it. They didn’t want to believe it. They knew the war was going on in Europe. The USA had been sending weapons and planes and money over to England to help them in the fight, but most of the people Dad knew didn’t want to go to war. Who in his right mind would want to go to war? But Dad says he and his friends knew that’s what was going to happen. They would all have to enlist and go fight the war. He says one minute they were boys just looking for a good time and after they news, they were staring straight at an unknown future. They would have to leave youth behind and become soldiers. He remembers they went into a soda shop that was open and clustered around the radio to rear the reports coming in. He remembers how quiet the guys all were. It was a somber day.
It’s still a somber day to reflect on what war means and to remember all the brave men and women who answered their country’s call like my day who was in a submarine throughout the war. I hope nothing like that ever happens in my lifetime, but I’m really glad we won the war. Really, really glad.