Shortly after 8am on Sunday December 7, 1941, Japanese planes swooped in over Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By days end 5 of 8 battleships were sunk or sinking, several other ships and most of the combat planes were also destroyed and 2,400 hundred Americans were dead.
This attack prompted thousands of young men to run to their local enlistment office to sign up for military service of their country. World War II was off to a running start.
I remember my mom and dad talking about those days..my mom was "great with child" (me) and my dad was working 12 hour shifts on the railroad. They were here on the west coast of Washington, close to several military bases. Mom's parent's in eastern Washington begged her to get on a train and come home. They were afraid the city would be bombed and she'd have her baby in the street. She considered it but in the end, she stayed here and was safely delivered less than a month later. There were mandatory "black outs", I understand you couldn't even even light a match or smoke a cigarette outside after dark for fear that an enemy plane would be flying over the area and see the smallest flicker of a match. I remember being told that my dad was chosen "Block Watch Captain." He had to walk thru the neighborhood each night, making sure that windows were covered with dark cloths and no outdoor lights were burning. By July of 1942, my dad was one of the thousands that had enlisted in the Army and was off to war...
It wasn't long before western Washington as well as other areas, rounded up Japanese citizens and hustled them off to internment camps. The U.S. government convinced that they were enemies living among us. Even our own Puyallup Fair grounds served as a camp. Many of these dear people had been born and raised here, they had farms, businesses, and were well known citizens but because of their race they were suddenly considered the enemy. I think this is one of the saddest things that ever happened....a little over re-acting by our government officials. Later many of these Japanese men were allowed to join the military and formed their own battalions and fought the enemy valiantly. After the war when the people were released from the camps, they came back to find their houses and businesses gone...taken over by others.
I'll be curious to see if there's any mention of Pearl Harbor on the news or in our local newspapers. Last year I found a small mention of it in the back of the first section of my paper. Not much said about it on T.V.
I hope we can all pause for a moment today and remember those who lost their lives on that day 66 years ago.