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Pearl Harbor and World War II: Long ago, but not forgotten

Written By | Dec 6, 2017

MISSOURI, December 6, 201:  Pearl Harbor and World War II. It began on a Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, when Japan plunged our nation into war by a sneak attack on our base at Honolulu.

FLICKR/Peter Shaw

The bombing of Pearl Harbor/FLICKR/Peter Shaw

Going to War – Pearl Harbor and World War II

Our nation, while not ready for the attack, quickly rose to the occasion, joining fully in the World War II fight. Men and women joined the armed forces. The draft was implemented. Men who were drafted for their skills regardless of age or physical fitness.

Women joined the WAC’s, the Women’s Army Corp, and ferried the planes to England in support of the air force. There was a buildup of the merchant marines and of the armed service medical staff.

On the home front, there were dynamic changes in the lifestyle. The war effort was huge. At the beginning, the army had trucks that became tanks by simply hanging a sign on the side of the truck saying “tank.” That is just one example of how ill-equipped our military was ready for a war. Not just a war, but also a world war that covered Europe, the Pacific and Asia.




The Response at the Homefront

Rosie the Riveter was introduced into our vocabulary. Plants sprung up all over the country to provide the ammunition, equipment, planes, ships and other supportive supplies. The military had to become logistics experts to support the war fronts.


The worst maritime tragedy in U.S. history, and nobody has heard of it


Next came the sadness that today’s senior had to endure during that period. Stars in the windows, and the gold star that represented a household member who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his or her country and was killed in action. It has been many decades, but some seniors of today still remember the telegram coming in the mail.

Those telegrams were very heavy when the allies hit the beachhead on Normandy and the other beaches. Even today, the veterans who served in World War II still have vivid memories of those days. Not only the veterans but also their wives who suffered so much, constantly worrying about the safety of their loved ones. Helping their veterans adjust to life after the horrors of war.

What a tremendous burden they had to carry.

Post Pearl Harbor and World War II Patriotism

Despite the hardship, patriotism was abundant. No one ever thought about burning the flag. Everybody bought war bonds are the ten-cent stamp books. And even the city folks learned how to plant a garden, which was termed the victory garden. Seniors should remind the youth of today about those heroes of that time of our country who today are our senior heroes.

Some of the veterans of the left to serve once again in Korea.

Those who served America following Pearl Harbor, fighting for freedom during World War II were proud of the United States. Many of those same proud veterans feel sadness by the lack of patriotism and pride Americans show today. Too many fail to show pride for our wonderful country, and themselves

It is difficult for seniors to even understand some of the disgusting things they see around them today. However, let the seniors of today continue to be good listeners and maintain patience and whenever the opportunity presents itself tell the youth of today about those years gone by. This will earn you another cluster on your combat ribbon that continues to support that many seniors of today are heroes.

However, that’s a time and place I am from.



Charles Vandegriff, Sr.

Charles spent a fifty-four-year career in technology, retiring at the director level from three major corporations. Followed by three-plus years as a freelance columnist, he has published three books, made over three hundred speeches to senior organizations, and been involved in numerous radio interviews and one television commercial. He has been married for sixty-five years, and has four children, seven grandchildren and thirteen great-grand children. Charles is also a Navy veteran.