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Featured Story: Pearl Harbor and The Declaration of War on Japan, Germany and Italy, 1941
My family lived near Denoya, Oklahoma at this time on a small farm. I was nine years old.
It was bright and sunny that Sunday morning. It was also Daddy’s 50th birthday. All the morning farm chores were finished, and there was no more work to do until it was time for the evening chores. Nothing special was planned for the day, but the family had enjoyed breakfast together. It was the one meal we all shared.
Sometime in the early afternoon, someone from town came by and said that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. At first this didn’t mean much to me because I had never heard of Pearl Harbor, but as I listened to the adults talk, I began to understand that the Japanese had attacked the United States military. Listening to them, I wished that I were grown up enough so that I could go fight too.
The next day, December 8th, 1941, Mr. Fred Liston, our school principal, suddenly came into our classroom and called us to attention. He announced that Congress had just declared war on Japan, Germany, and Italy. I had heard about Hitler and Germany, and even Mussolini, but until the day before I had not thought about Japan as an enemy. When Mr. Liston finished his announcement a boy in the 5th grade section, (it was a small rural school and the 4th & 5th grades were combined), shouted out, “Good! We will whip those cowards!”
Mr. Liston replied: “You won’t be so happy when you are out there picking up scrap iron, tin, and other junk, and you can’t get every thing you want because there will be shortages.”
How true were his words in just weeks.