On December 7, 1941, Louis Simmons was 11 years old.
He remembered it was a "warmish day" for early December. As he did every Sunday, he attended Sunday school with his mother Louise Foy Simmons, brother "Little Frank" and sister Sue. His father Frank Simmons later joined the family for services at First Baptist Church in Statesboro.
After church, Louis and his family went to the home of his mother's brother, Inman Foy and his wife Lenabelle. About 12 family members, including "Mother Foy," who was matriarch of the Foy family, gathered at "Uncle Inman's house on Savannah Avenue for a big turkey dinner."
Simmons said the adults were sitting at the dining room table and the children were at a card table, right next to the radio.
"We had just set down for dinner, and started passing the food around. I had taken a forkful of food or so and that's when we heard.
"About 1:20, Uncle Inman received a phone call at the house. He said he was told the Japs had just bombed Pearl Harbor and to turn on the radio. Reports came on about the attack on Pearl Harbor and we all wondered: ‘Where is Pearl Harbor?'
"The radio report told us it was in the Hawaiian Islands, so then we knew."
Simmons said the radio stayed on and everyone sat back down and finished the meal, listening to the reports and talking about the attack the rest of the afternoon.
"We left about 4:30 or so, heading home on Claxton Road (now Highway 301), which was a wide dirt road in 1941. At the point where I-16 is now, there was a high hill. It was a clear sky, and just above the trees, you could see the sun.
"I looked at the sight and said: Look at that, it looks like the Japanese flag. Daddy and mama said, ‘It sure does' and then he said: ‘I sure am glad you two boys aren't old enough to be in the service because it's going to be a long, hard war.'"