Seventy Six years ago today, December the 7th, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in a deadly surprise attack, bombed Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, in an attempt to seriously destroy the influence of the United States Navy in the Pacific Ocean. This surprise attack plunged the United States into WWII and into the war against Japan in the Pacific.
I was age five years old. I used to quietly slip downstairs in my home and listen to the news on the radio that my parents were playing in our living room.
At the time, Walter Winchell was a prominent radio news announder. As I remember it, he always began with the following statement :
“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press.”
In doing some research today, I find the historical records state Walter Winchell began his newscasts as follow :
“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press.”
As a 5-year old, listening quietly to that newcast on December 7th, I only knew that something really big had happened.
I served in the United States Marine Corps beginning in January of 1958. By the time I finished boot camp and ITR training and reached a permanent duty station, it was September 1958. This was 13-years after the fighting with the Japanese had ceased. I was priviledged to serve with some members of the Marine Corps who had fought the Japanese in the Pacific Theater during the later stages of WWII. Few talked about their combat experiences, but all of us knew how horrific the fighting had been throughout the Pacific and especially at Iwo Jima and Okinawa towards the end of the war.
All I can do here is to salute those who fought and the many who died when I, as a child, could do neither. However, when my time to serve appeared, I was proud to do so.