Monday, December 8, 2008

December 8, 1941

I realize that yesterday was a special remembrance day for many veterans in our nation, even though it's been 67 years since the event, and "a lot of water has gone under the bridge," as they say. However, I don't remember anything special that happened to me on that day. It's the day afterwards, December 8, about which I now write.

I was a "big girl," having turned 7 years old in the previous September. Our family was living in Las Vegas, NM; at least most of us, Mama and we four kids. Daddy was home only on weekends, his job at the CCC camp in the mountains keeping him away all through the week.


Daddy was granted some leave/vacation time for the second full week in December. On this particular morning, he and Mama headed for Santa Fe for a week of together time, leaving us in the capable hands of "Grandpa and Grandma" Carrington, who owned the house within which we had an apartment. Since there was no radio in the 1937 Chevy, they had also taken Daddy's portable short-wave battery-operated radio .


I had just arrived home from school for lunch (we did that, in those days) when suddenly Mama and Daddy were back at home. What happened? What happened?


What happened was the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On the way to Santa Fe, they were listening to the radio and heard President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's address to the joint session of Congress: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs Declaration of War against Japan. December 8, 1941 (Wikipedia)

I don't recall much else about the remainder of that day except sitting on the stairs to our apartment, listening to that little radio and hearing a lot of information I didn't fully understand but which I realized, even at 7 years of age, would change our lives.

The upshot was that Daddy had to report back to his CCC camp on the double. I don't remember any of the activity that took place afterwards, but it was only a few days until Daddy had gone to Grand Junction, Colorado, now being a 55-year old civilian employee of the United States Army. He was employed to teach automotive mechanics at the Army facility at Grand Junction. He would later be transferred to Ft. Lewis, Washington to do the same sort of training, and would not be home again except for emergencies (another post) until after VE Day in 1945.

21 comments:

Rose said...

I don't know what to say other than I enjoy reading personal stories like this...you did a good job writing it. I would like hearing more of your remembrances about stuff like this.

Hilary said...

It's amazing to hear an account of that day through the ears and eyes of a child. In a sad way, I'll bet a part of you grew up in a hurry. Your writing always brings the moment alive. A fine post.

rhymeswithplague said...

Thank you for writing this. It seems so long ago and so far away, I'm sure, to many of your younger readers. You did a great job describing the day and how it must have affected so many families just like yours.

Suldog said...

Interesting to note that yesterday I heard ONE mention of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the radio - none on TV or in the newspaper. Time (and political correctness) tend to deaden the impact of such heinous occurrences. I suspect that, fifty or so years from now, the same will happen concerning 9/11, despite folks saying now that it will never be forgotten.

Sherry Peyton said...

You know I don't think I heard a single mention of the day on the 7th. It seemed I heard it once on the 8th. It is a bit before my time, so it was most interesting to hear your account of what life was like for you then. Thanks Pat.

Dr.John said...

War tends to mess up everyone's life.

Dr.John said...

War tends to mess up everyone's life.

david mcmahon said...

Pat, what an amazing account.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I love reading about events from the point of view of a child. This was fascinating.

Lee said...

This was a wonderful story, your perspective as a child. It's sad that the war took your dad so far away from home. My dad fought in that war too.

Congratulations on making David's list.

Peace!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Crikey..it didnt get a mention here that I noticed, how odd....a lovely post and David has of course recognised this....thank you for sharing

Sandi McBride said...

Your father was a hero...How proud you must have been of him...and still are, no doubt. Thank you for sharing this story and congratulations on the Post of the Day mention!
Sandi

Louise said...

What a memory for a 7-year-old! My dad was 3 days old when that happened, and my mom 13 days old, so they obviously had no memories of it, but I can imagine their parents did.

Wonderful story. I'm sorry they missed their alone time in Santa Fe!

Merisi said...

Those were such awful times then,
and thinking how many military families are once again separated makes for truly sad remembrance of things past. I hope you had many happy years together with your dad after those years of being apart.

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog today! :-)

nonizamboni said...

Thanks for sharing you memories! My husband reminded me that the anniversary fell on the same day of the week as the attack. You have brought it all back to life with your touching post.

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for sharing your experienece of that time. Gives me the chills.

Epijunky said...

It really was interesting to read about that day through the eyes of a child. Thank you for sharing it.

Congratulations on your potd, I came from David's blog and I can't wait to read more!

Travis said...

What an incredible time and an amazing memory.

Thanks for sharing that, and for visiting my place today.

Cheffie-Mom said...

This is such a well written post. It's amazing how children see and hear things. Thank you for sharing your memory of that day.

Old Lady Lincoln said...

Thanks for your visit. I really don't remember it too well, I was 5 at the time. I do remember a few years later when my father was drafted into the Navy. Any and all wars are horrible, so many innocent children and people that get killed and injured. I've always said, let the big shots in the governments do the fighting, it would be over mighty quick.

Cow Pies & Mud Pies said...

What a neat story you shared. My co-workers husband passed away this last Sunday-Pearl Harbor Day...I always seem to remember it, maybe because my daddy was in Vietnam. He always made sure we knew that anniversary date!
GOD BLESS AMERICA!