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The Bombing of Pearl Harbor
I was walking along the side of the road with my mother, Annie. We had been out getting some running around done. My father is in the air force, he is out working in the aircrafts today. Today was a beautiful day. We were in our 1930s Plymouth heading home. President Roosevelt yelled on to the radio.
“Everyone get home! Go somewhere safe! We are under attack!”
We didn’t understand what was going on but we did as we were told. We drove down a few streets getting closer and closer to our house. To a safe place. As we drove down we saw people running and people screaming. A woman was screaming “It’s the Japanese! They’re here!” I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t hear about any Japanese people coming. But what ever they were here for didn’t sound very good.
We were finally home. Safe from whatever was going on out there. That’s when it hit us. My mom and I got over the fear of something happening long enough to understand what we need to be scared of. The Japanese are here in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor to bomb it. My mom and I started to panic. We didn’t know what to do. Then I thought of my father.
“Dad!” I screamed. “Where is dad? Is he going to be ok?” I didn’t know what to think. My dad was out there somewhere.
“Your father will be ok.” My mother was trying to reassure me but I don’t think she even believed the words she was saying.
Boom!!! Crash!!! Bang!!! People were screaming. I looked out the front window. We were being attacked. December 7th, 1941.
My mother turned on the radio and we were listening to the president tell us what was happening. He said that everyone needs to stay in a safe place. Then corrected himself and said that he didn’t think that there was anywhere safe for now. He was really devastated to tell us that many people will be hurt or dead by the day was over.
There was a knocking at the door. My mother ran to answer it. It was her friend Mary. She was panicking as well as everyone else in the area.
“Annie, you have to come help us down at the hospital. Will you please come help us?” Mary pleaded.
“But what about Kathryn? I cant just leave her here by herself.” My mother told her.
“She can come. But she must stay out of everyone’s way and mustn’t look at the people coming in. Its truly heartbreaking.” Mary said trying to hurry along the conversation.
“Alright then” my mother said. “Kathryn. Go get on your jacket and some shoes. Hurry!”
As we rushed down the front steps, to the car my mother was gripping my hand making sure I was still behind her and hurried along. “We don’t have a lot of time.” She told me every time I would slow down. I wasn’t trying to run slow, it’s just that my little legs are not that fast and I’m wearing a dress. I had one hand on my head keeping my hat on and the other was being gripped by my mother. But I was trying my hardest. I’m only thirteen you know.
On our short drive down to the hospital, my mother was telling me everything she wanted me to do. She told me I must stay in a corner out of the way; don’t talk to anyone unless they talk to me because people would be very busy. She told me that if someone asks me to hand them something or hold something for them or do something for them then I must help.
“And most importantly” she said to me. “If you happen to see any of the wounded people, you must be strong.” She started choking up. I wonder if she is nervous about doing this. If she knows she might see father. “Can you do that for me?” she asked.
“Yes, mother.” I told her. I was going to be strong about the wounded people, about daddy, about this whole thing.
The entire day, nobody asked me to do anything, I stayed out of sight and I did exactly what my mother told me to do. The only thing I did was cry a little and sleep a little. My mother didn’t even talk to me. She was real busy, her and Mary. They both would glance at me from time to time to make sure I was okay. And I was okay. I was being strong like mamma asked me to.
We didn’t get home until the next day around noon. There were a lot of hurt people. That many hurt, no one knows yet how many gone.
A few days have gone by and daddy hasn’t showed up. Mother is getting depressed. I hear her up at night crying; praying. I don’t go in and bother her and I don’t say anything when we talk. We don’t talk about daddy much. Sometimes at night when I hear her crying and praying, I cry and pray too. Maybe if we pray about the same thing together every night, that daddy will come home.
We didn’t pray together like in the same room, but I knew we were both praying. About a week had gone by before anyone ever came to visit. No one had said anything much about anything. Finally, someone decided to talk. Well, that’s what we thought. Early on Saturday morning December 27th, 1941. My mother and I were fixing breakfast when there was a gentle knock at the door. It startled us because everyone had been so quiet since the attack. My mother went to go answer it after the person knocked again.
My mother gasped. She yelled for me to come to the door. I went. Right in the doorway was my father. He was in his air force uniform. My mother, my father, and I all started crying. We went back into the kitchen to finish making our breakfast then we ate. It was a big, wonderful family breakfast.
“Well, me and some of my friends were sleeping when we got awaken by the bombs and screaming. We rushed to put on clothes and rushed out to get to work. By the day was done I had gotten injured. Not horribly. I went to the hospital for a few days. Then I stayed out awhile to help people recover and clean stuff up.” My father was saying between mouthfuls of scrambled eggs. “I sent James down to tell you what was going on. But I guess he never got around to it. I’m so sorry Annie.” My dad kissed my moms forehead.
“Its okay John” my mother said. “Your safe and that’s all that matters.”
When we all finished eating, we cleaned up the kitchen. Soon, everything will go back to the way it was.
The day of the attack 353 aircrafts and submarines were present that morning. Eight American battleships and thirteen other naval vessels were sunk or badly damaged. Almost 200 aircraft were destroyed and 3000 naval personnel were killed or wounded.
President Roosevelt made this quote about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date in 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.”