Newsline

Newsline , Society

December 7, 1941 – Reflecting on Pearl Harbor

Posted on Thursday, December 7, 2023
|
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
|
28 Comments
|
Print
Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941. Only a few of military age that day remain with us, but some still do. Not long ago, I interviewed a lady alive on that day. She remembers it “as if yesterday.” The day we spoke, she brought it back. The “day that will live in infamy” – when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor – is worth recalling.

When we spoke, she was 100. On December 7, 1941, she and three girlfriends were sharing an evening together with their boyfriends, a dinner in a home. Life was simple, paced, of a nature that allowed slow conversation, getting to know people well, quiet appreciation for the future. They all had an appreciation for peace.

She had been encouraged to go to college, not by her mother but by her father, along with a local minister, and – curiously enough – a Chinese exchange student. China was a free country then, Republic until 1949, tormented by civil war but not Communist.

All this was rather remarkable for a woman – who also counted among her experiences seeing Charles Lindbergh take off from Roosevelt Field in 1927. What many thought insanity, trying to cross the Atlantic in a light plane, she and her father admired. When he survived, her family watched his parade. At 100, she confided “he was cute.”

But on another fateful day – when the Japanese killed 2,403 Americans and plunged our nation into war – many sat at Sunday dinner. They had no suspicion the day would end at war. Much of this psychology – being at peace and expecting peace – rings true today, even with fewer Sunday dinners, less easy conversation and perhaps appreciation. But what happened next surprised me.

When news came over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been attacked, no long discussion ensued, nor any fear in their boyfriends’ voices. Yet none of them had any doubt. America was at war. Immediately, all four boys rose from their seats, dispersing to enlist, prepare, devote themselves to America’s defense.  At once? Yes, they were solemn, but all rose from their seats.

She explains how people thought then. This was not bravado or because of who they were with. It was something innate, instinctive, resolute, unhesitating, as if deep within each boy that question – would they fight if needed? – had already been asked and answered.

How old were they? Early 20s. Across the nation, many were teenagers. Freedom – and they knew WWI had been hard on families – was seen as a burden, defending our nation a duty.

They held the conviction to their bones. Did all four boys deploy? Yes, they were all “1A.” What did the girls do? “We all cried, because it was frightening.” What did you personally do? Here, her story takes another unexpected turn. She gave up Cornell, nearly finished with an MS in chemistry – to marry the love of her life, one of those boys, named “Bob.”

What happened… to those boys?  Knowing 16 million signed up, 450,000 never came home, war lasted four years, my eyes focused on her. “Well,” she says with a sigh, “they all came home, all married the girls they were with that night, all raised families.”

She was hard-pressed to explain what the day meant. It changed her life forever. It changed everything for everyone forever. America descended into war, war rationing, letters home, unwelcome letters from the War Department, enormous loss, cost, worry, and horror.

She lost respect for Lindbergh, antiwar and by that time an apologist for neutrality. She could not abide that, whatever his prior courage. She notes there are times in life you must stand and be counted. That was one.

Her young husband? He served until it ended. They had more than half a century together, children, grandkids, great grands. Her degree? Never finished, taught elementary school. Yes, December 7, 1941, changed everything. Regrets? Some. Consolations? Yes, “thousands of great grandchildren…,” she laughed, “and a peaceful life in Maine…freedom, friends, family.”

I wanted her perspective on another issue. She had lived so long, wit crisp. Can America survive what buffets us now? She thought about that, but not long. Yes, indeed she is sure – yes.

Does she think young people would rise again? She has great grandchildren, knows their world, watches the news. She admits she does not like the mobile phones, email, loss of focus, faith, or centrality of family. She sees the contrast with her younger days, slower paced with friends. But would they? Yes, they would.  If America needed our youth to stand again, she is convinced they would.

Those who know their history, who appreciate freedoms, who pause for a quiet dinner – in short, those who understand how special America is – would again push back rise to defend America. She is clear – and has the perspective few, by definition, have. She believes they would.

Pondering that last observation, durability of patriotism, appreciation for America’s uniqueness, and willingness of the young to stand for freedom, I admit my wonder, sometimes my doubt. Do waters still run that deep? She looks me straight in the eye and lets me know – they do.

She has no doubt. She has lived longer than I have, so perhaps is right. She remembers December 7, 1941, clearly – how young people felt then, how much they knew and did not know, how they loved peace – how they stood at one to defend freedom when threatened.

Yes, it was a day of “infamy” and it “changed everything” for her, for America, and for the world. She agrees it is important not to forget that day…She never has, hopes we will not.

Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
28 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Max
Max
1 year ago

RBC, thanks again for a great article. It is now very important to let young folks and children about this nation’s past history and not let it be distorted by the imbeciles that are trying to change the past for their evil agendas.
I was stationed three times at Pearl during my career and it was always an honor to RENDER HONORS TO THOSE WHO STILL LAY AT REST in the USS ARIZONA and USS UTAH.

PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

An excellent article on a subject that a lot of the MSM has seemed to have lost interest in. Back then after the attack, the nation rallied and there was no shortage of young men who volunteered to serve in the armed forces to stop those responsible. How the country has changed over so little time. One has to wonder in 2022 what the response would be from the general public to a similar attack by China on American naval forces or even some American territory. Hopefully we never have to find out.

SusanW
SusanW
6 months ago

What a delightful article to remember such an infamous day in our history. It warmed my heart hearing that the four young men immediately enlisted leaving behind their life long companions and loves. I wholeheartedly agree with the woman you interviewed. America will survive these dark days. We were born of good “stock” and are fearless and patriotic. Thank you again, Bobby!

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
6 months ago

Remember Pearl Harbor – great advice, in 2023 – definitely , Remember Pearl Harbor – more than great advice actually – a great ethic ,because of all the principles that needed to be defended in 1941 and the principles of this Nation now , that are in jeopardy. Those of us who believe in the United States of America , who love the principles that are at the foundation of this Country – we will prevail in any attempt to change the spirit of what built this Country. In the spirit of God bless America land of the free and the home of the brave. With honor for those who defended this Nation on December 7, 1941 . With respect for truth and Liberty.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
6 months ago

Our ignorance is appalling. Todays youth don’t know what Pearl Harbor and WWII meant or why it was fought or the sacrifice that the US made to end it. They have no idea what the greatest generation ( my parents. I’m 77) accomplished. That generation survived the Great Depression (whats that ?) , WWII and afterwards in the 50’s created the greatest economy in world history. That generation made this nation. I can’t name a school that teaches this history. Can you ?

Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
1 year ago

They truly were “The Greatest Generation”

Smike
Smike
1 year ago

Let us not forget, there is a big difference between the emotions of an attack on American soil or that of its allies than supporting a civil war in a country that hates us more than the opposing side but are willing to tolerate us to some degree to get us to fight their war with our young men, guns, supplies and money. Don’t ask our youth to fight and die in a war or conflict that’s not directly related to the defense of America or its allies ever again. Isolationist, no. We need allies and trade but we’re not the global police force or the global red cross and should stop acting like it. We need to stop acting like Democrats and Republicans and start being Americans. Americans who are for the people and not the party.

Henry D
Henry D
1 year ago

As this President further weakens this country with the depletion of our oil reserves necessary for DEFENSE, out spending former administrations, and allowing illegal enemies to enter our borders with ease, we are easily becoming the target of a SECOND December 7th to any one of our numerous enemies!

Top Latest News
6 months ago

God, you’re incredible! I can’t recall ever reading anything like it. What a relief to discover someone who has fresh ideas about this. Your initiative in launching this is truly appreciated. Someone with some creativity is really required on the web, and this website provides that.

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
6 months ago

Perhaps this December 7 we might also thank Russia for carrying the largest burden of war in the conflict that began late in America in comparison to what the European and Asian continents experienced.
Yes, some 400,000 US soldiers never came home as a result of that war but recall that somewhere between 28 and 65 MILLION Russian soldiers died in that same war and an even greater number of Russian civilians died before the last shot was fired.
So, even though the war whores such as Nicky Haley or Lindsay Graham have furthered the hatred established for no good reason through the cold war era, do a tiny amount of research and for just once ask yourself one thing. “In reality, what has ANY Russian ever done in a negative context to we as Americans”? It took me until my sixth decade of life to ask myself that simple question. The answer astonishingly true as it is……is, NOTHING. The entire narrative has been established for one simple thing. To further the interests of the fascistic military industrial complex.
For Gods sake, ask yourself the question it took me too long to ask myself and then perhaps say, on this December 7, 2023……….”thank you Russia” and thank all the other veterans of that awful war as well, at least those on the side of what we at the time called, “The Allies”

anna hubert
anna hubert
6 months ago

What a great article and what a difference between the men then and multiple genders of today

Art Warmack
Art Warmack
6 months ago

OH………..and how as a nation can we look back at the events that Pearl Harbor began for Americans while simultaneously watching our “great” leaders fight over sending more billions to a Nazi infested Ukrainian regime? Heil Azov!! Heil Bandera!!, Heil Zelensky!!

Art Warmack
Art Warmack
6 months ago

Just once…..on perhaps this December 7, use a search engine and look up “The McCullom Memorandum. Just once. That “day of infamy” will have a brand new shine on it when viewed a bit more……..accurately.
The war did accomplish what was its real goal. It ended the depression. NOTHING else “Frankie” tried helped but man……..”when all else fails, bring us to war”

TomS
TomS
6 months ago

Our foes are not foreign, but domestic. We face a moral collapse within the country. Today, the need for truth, but lies are winning the day.

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

So much for that day of infamy. History is only as fresh as the people who lived it. Once that generation is gone, so will the memory of their sacrifices. This once great nation once rallied around country, patriotism and pride. Those too are memories.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
December 7, 1941, is a VALUABLE LESSON that should NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
I walked down and read every name on their tombstones when I was in Pearl Harbor during Viet Nam War
and a lot of names were Unknown but NOT FORGOTTEN.
The UNITED STATES of AMERICA
WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT JAPAN DID ON DECEMBER 7, 1941.

J. Farley
J. Farley
1 year ago

This was an attack by truly evil people, and America met the challenge and prevailed, and like those evil men on 9-11-2001, evil to the core and it is my belief that had those event hit us today, America does not have leaders with the desire or the will to meet the challenge and America would try to appease the enemy and blame America.
Without a change soon, America is a nation in decline!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Next Pearl Harbor:
Missiles, rockets from ships, subs & planes assult Oahu
Gone no more Oahu

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Do ANY of today’s students know ANYTHING about Pearl Harbor? I doubt it. They DO know a lot about 57 genders and how all our Founders were atheists or deists and how we must bow down before other countries because we don’t deserve to be the world’s # 1 super power! We’ve already had a moral “Pearl Harbor.” When will the “sleeping giant” wake up and do something about it?

An older blonde women laughing in the kitchen with a grey haired man.
AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service
The knowledge, guidance, and choices of coverage you’re looking for. The exceptional service you deserve.
The AMAC App on 3 different iPhone
Download the AMAC App
The AMAC App is the place to go for insightful news wherever you are and whenever you want.
Former President Donald J Trump spoke at The People's Convention hosted by Turning Point USA and Sponsored by AMAC
AMAC CEO Rebecca Weber addressing AMAC Members & Delegates during her speech at the AMAC Action Delegate Summit 2024
Donald Trump, President of United States of America, during press conference at NATO SUMMIT 2018. 12.07.2018. BRUSSELS, BELGIUM. Press conference of Donald Trump, President of United States of America, during NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization SUMMIT 2018.
Public schools block lettering on the side of a yellow school bus

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

28
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games