I was seven years old when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place on Dec. 7, 1941. It was a Sunday morning. My most vivid early memory of the aftermath was that my Uncle Jack was drafted and sent for basic training to Ft. Jackson near Columbia about 100 miles away. My grandmother Carnell was at our house every day begging my dad to take her to see him. Of course that was impossible. Dad became an air raid warden. We had air raid drills at Northside Elementary School which mostly consisted of us getting under our desks when the alarm sounded. When I was in the 4th.grade, my dad and three of his friends went to visit Uncle Jack and three others from Woodruff at Camp Chaffee in Arkansas near Ft. Smith. I always have thought it was Camp Cook. None of the four men had much money so they ate a lot of chili on the trip. My teacher’s, Miss Woods, boyfriend was one of those visited. Uncle Jack sent me a horned toad before he went to France. We know that at one point he was stationed near Nancy, France, because in a letter he congratulated my parents on the birth of their daughter, Nancy Francis. Somehow this got by the censors.

Carl, my Aunt Sally Lou Hanna’s son, served in the Navy. He was clerk to Admiral William “Bull” Halsey. Her son-in-law, Dwight Knight was in the invasion at Normandy. My great Uncle Mitch’s two sons, Dewey and Dan Easler were also in the war.  Marion P. Carnell, Uncle Calvin’s son, and longtime member of the South Carolina House of Representatives also served in the Navy. Clarence Wehunt, husband of Sarah Carnell, served in the Army.

My late wife, Liz, and her family were in the Philippines at the time of the attack. Her parents were Presbyterian missionaries, who decided to stay. They were there for the duration of the war without pay. They credit the Chinese Christians for keeping them alive. During the war they relocated to Manila from the Island of Leyte. My sister-in-law, Joan, kept a diary of her experiences. She later wrote and delivered a paper, “A Child’s View of the War.” She delivered the paper at a 50th. Anniversary commemoration of the war. She also included some observations from her younger sister, Liz.

in 1991, my brother-in-law John Wallace and I visited the Arizona Memorial and the American Cemetery in Hawaii.

The Second World War changed all of our lives forever. It changed our nation and the world. President Franklin D. Roosevelt became my lifetime hero followed closely by James F. Byrnes of South Carolina. In more recent years I have grown to appreciate the accomplishments and straight talk of President Harry S. Truman.

 

 

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