Novemeber 29, 2002
Today we continue with the series on memories of December 7, 1941, the tragic, historic day that propelled this country into a new role. No longer were we merely observers from the sideline. On that day the U.S. became a belligerent on the side of the Allies in World War II. From a peaceful, isolationist posture, we have metamorphosed into a leader in international affairs that affect not only the citizens of the U.S., but quite literally the entire world.
How do Perry residents remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor? The number of those from that period who are still living is growing smaller day by day. We asked a few of them to share the thoughts that raced through their minds on that fateful day, nearly sixty-one years ago. Here is the first one, written by Dr. Charles E. Martin, with this subject: "On Remembering Pearl Harbor Day."
"I remember it was on a Sunday, December 7, 1941. I was 17 and a freshman in college at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) and still living at home in Stillwater with my younger brother and sister, together with our parents.
"I had graduated that spring (1941) from Stillwater High School, having gone through all twelve grades in that public school system. One of my fondest memories was that of being a regular carrier-newsboy for the local newspaper, The Stillwater Daily Press, for the last three or four years while in high school. I had seen the headlines and followed the stories from Europe. Poland invaded in 1939. The fall of France in 1940.... The Battle of Britain in 1941.
"America was trying to stay out of it, but was using Lend-Lease to help Great Britain-and then came the invasion of Russia on the East.... And now PEARL HARBOR! We were at WAR! !
"I do recall trying to return to my studies that Sunday evening. It was freshman chemistry, but of course, I had no luck at all. There was no TV back then, but my attention was glued to the radio."
Dr. Martin is now retired from his medical practice. We appreciate his thoughts as we approach another anniversary of "the day that will live in infamy." More of these personal recollections will follow in this space the next few days. Please stay tuned in.