When going back in memory to December 7, 1941, I realized I had just become a 13-year-old. I can't remember where I was when I heard the horrific news but I vividly remember that my first reaction was: "Where in the world is Pearl Harbor?"
All we had back then was a radio, which we kept on and listened to constantly.
The next day at my local school in Parrott, Ga., a small town near Albany, all the students from grades one to eleven gathered for a "special chapel" to hear the historic radio address made by our beloved President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Hearing his eloquent words, we young people were calmed and reassured that we would survive. In the weeks and months that followed changes followed in rapid order.
"Jap" became a dirty word. Patriotism soared. Our young men joined the armed services. We began to sing new songs: "Remember Pearl Harbor," "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else but Me," as the men left to face battle.
We experienced gasoline rationing and war bond rallies. I was too young to have a soldier sweetheart but enjoyed talking to uniformed young men who hitch-hiked through Parrott on leave from Fort Benning 50 miles north.
We young girls sat on the steps of the railroad depot and the soldiers would walk over from the highway to sit and talk with us.
I was only 5 years old on December 7, 1941, so my memories are a little murky.
Sometime in the afternoon I noticed that my Dad was listening closely to the radio. I remember hearing an announcer say: "Pearl Harbor" several times and that "Jap" planes had been there and sunk ships and caused deaths.
My grandmother Murkison was present in the room and I heard her asking my Dad if there was a "danger" that the "planes would come and bomb here."
Now I assume that she meant the continental USA, but at that moment I thought she meant our farm at Fairchilds, Ga., in the extreme southwest corner of the state. I recall being relieved to hear my Dad say "No, Ma, they cannot reach California let alone us."
I believe those were his exact words since my undivided attention at that moment was on the bombing at Pearl Harbor.
In later years, I talked with my Dad about this and he remembered that it was at 4 p.m. when he regularly tuned in to a station in Pensacola, Fla., to hear a regular Sunday afternoon network - probably NBC - news program. Once he had the radio on, he knew that the "war that had been feared for a year or two had started."
Cpt. Wayne Tucker
On December 5th, 1941, I was sworn into the Navy in Nashville. A group of several recruits was sent to the Norfolk Naval Station to start boot camp.
My older brother Leon was at boot camp, too. On December 7th, he was in the barracks and heard the news about the attack. He came outside and told me: "We're at war. Pearl Harbor was just attacked."
After completing boot camp, I was sent to the Naval Hospital to train as a corpsman to be attached to the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon hearing this, a whistle blower - my mother - working with the Red Cross, informed the Navy that I was only 14 years old. At discharge, the officer told me that the Navy would keep tabs on me because they wanted me back.
Several days after my 17th birthday, I received a letter from the Navy Department requesting me to contact them. Inasmuch as I was on a Liberty ship in the South Pacific, I did not respond. I spent the next 24 years in the Merchant Marines, starting as dishwasher and retiring as captain.
In the photo here, I was 16 years old and 10 months. It was taken after seven and a half months in the South Pacific in Australia.
Marilyn N. Hendrix
My mother and I had stopped by the post office after church. During the war, the mail was placed in the boxes in the post office on Sunday.
My father was in the Army, stationed up north. I was listening to the radio when they announced that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.
When mother returned, I was crying and told her the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. She held me in her arms and we cried for the lives that were lost that day.