DECEMBER 7TH, 1941 - THAT DAY AND THE NEXT 4 YEARS ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO
I was a few days beyond 6 years and 3 months old on December 7, 1941.
At that time I was the youngest of 4 Children consisting of 3 Boys and 1 Girl.
My oldest Brother, being 5 years and 2 months older than me, was 11 years old.
Being born in 1930 would prove to be significant in 1950 when the Korean War broke out.
My Family of 6 lived in a rented cold-water flat on the 2nd floor that consisted of a total of 6 rooms. 3 bedrooms, a front room, a dining room, and a kitchen. It also had 1 bathroom.
It was heated by 2 large coal fed stoves, 1 in the kitchen and 1 in the dining room.
We lived about 1 mile from the Chicago Stock Yards where my Dad worked as a Gate Guard at the Main Gate, which he later explained to me was much better than his previous job of crawling into the cattle and pig railroad cars, often on his knees in pig ***, to remove recalcitrant animals, unaware of their destiny and fate, but still apprehensive.
When I later asked him why he did such work, he said "To feed you guys".
Thats when it was ingrained in me that you did what you had to do to carry out your responsibilities.
I would have been at home on that Fatefull Sunday of December 7th, but for some reason I have no recall of that particular day.
We obviously would have learned of it over the radio, unless someone would have called us on the telephone.
The following day, to my recollection, there was nothing mentioned or made of the Attack, possibly because of the lack of communications, and no knowledge of the extent of the damages.
I am sure all the Newspapers in the United States, and the World, covered the Attack, as well as they could.
For the entire World, with Europe already engulfed in War, at least those attacked and occupied by Germany, must have been thrilled, because now they knew America would enter the War against Germany, because on Dec 8th, Hitler declared War against America, because of a Treaty he had with Japan.
Hitler, supposedly remarked to his Generals,in 1944, that he felt the biggest mistake he ever made, was declaring War on the United States.
I think I must have first become of WWll when we starting collecting and bringing old newspapers to Libby Grammar School on Loomis Blvd across from Sherman Park. It was called a Paper Drive.
The School also started selling Savings Stamps in the Class Room.
I believe they also sold War Bonds.
Since I had just started going to the store for my Mother, I became aware of "Rationing" and "Stamps".
When a store was going to have a shipment of Sugar and Butter, all rationed, they posted signs.
Meat of course, was also rationed. How Restaurants survived during the War, is still a mystery to me.
I was allowed to go to the movies once a week, on saturday, and they always had new reels of the War.
Jap and Nazi Posters, were everywhere.
The "Uncle Sam Wants You" was ubiquitous.
War Memorials and Flag Poles were built on every street corner.
Soon names of our Neighbors starting appearing on them alongside Gold and Silver Stars.
Small Flags started appearing in the windows of almost every home on the block.
I believe they were Gold,Silver,and Black. Representing the number of members of that Family who were serving,wounded,and dead.
There were no Cell Phones,Computers,Internet,Televisions,Copy Machines,Fax Machines,and none of the Broadcom Companies.
Bill Gates wasn't even born.
When I think of the contraversy over the so called torture "Waterboarding" going on today, I think back of the torture in WWll.
When I compare what I know of "Waterboarding" and the dropping of the 2 Bombs over Japan, that ended WWll, I am amazed at the Outrage.
What Truman demonstrated at that time, and will always be the responsibility of the President of the United States is, that whatever it takes to protect the People of the United States, The Sitting President, whoever it is, will always do whatever is necessary, regardless of the Media, or Public Polls and Opinions.
Another reflection I have is how we are now buying millions of Cars from Japan.
There used to be a sign and Poster that read:Remember Pearl Harbor