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Dec. 7, 1941 – the day that changed the world

She was only 7 when bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor, but she'll never forget that day.

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Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. I remember the day well: To me, it was a quiet, peaceful, ordinary Sunday morning. I was riding my bicycle along the sidewalk. The air was brisk, yet the California sun shone strong and brightened the blue sky. Neighbors were mowing lawns, some were washing cars, radios were playing music from different stations, which sounded confusing as I passed from one yard to another. Then, quite suddenly, all music stopped. And all the radio stations converged into one voice that amplified like a loud speaker down the street – "Pearl Harbor under attack..."

Knowing that something was wrong, I stopped in my tracks and looked around. One neighbor dropped his hose and ran into the house, letting water gush into the gutter. Another stopped cutting her roses and dashed into her house, letting the screen door slam behind her. Dad, who was mowing our lawn, left the mower idle while he ran into the house to gather around the radio with Mother in time to hear the famous words spoken by President Roosevelt, "This day will go down in infamy."

I wondered what it was all about.

My brother, who was 12 years my senior, came roaring up the driveway on his motorcycle, leaned it on the kickstand and sprinted up the back steps into the house. Jamming his gloves into the rear pocket of his pants, he leaned on the mahogany dining table, crossed his arms across his chest, and listened to the news report.

He looked at Mother, her head bent, and her eyes watering as she bit down hard on her lower lip to prevent tears flowing. Dad sat deep in the feather-filled cushioned chair next to the radio. They did not speak as the news told of the disaster at Pearl Harbor.

I stood by watching and listening with my 7-year-old eyes and ears, still wondering what it was all about. What and where was Pearl Harbor? Why was it under attack and by whom?

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