Pearl Harbor

By Terry Economy | Dec 04, 2014

December 7, 1941, a day of infamy, as the president at that time, Franklin Roosevelt, called it during his speech to Congress in declaring war on Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I was only 6 years old at that time, not realizing that it would change my life and a hundred of thousands of other Americans' as a result of World War II.

During our youth years, we all seem to remember an important event. This is true in my case of the memory of Pearl Harbor. My older brother, Richard, my sister, Virginia, and I were at the Strand Theater in Rocklnad on a Sunday afternoon, Dec. 7.

I don't remember the movie that was showing, but I do remember that during the movie, the film stopped and the lights came on. Then Danny Dandaneau, the Strand Theater manager, appeared on the stage and said something like, "Pearl Harbor has just been bombed, and is under attack by the Japanese. All military personnel in the audience should report to their base immediately."

Rockland at that time had a Navy and Coast Guard base. I was sitting next to my brother, who was 28. I do remember that he squeezed my hand after the announcement. I wonder now what went through his mind. Because of Pearl Harbor and World War II, five years later I would lose the only father I ever knew.

My father had died in 1936, when I was a year old. And my mother never remarried. Richard sort of became a father to me in my early youth years. He joined the Army in 1943, fought in Italy, then was part of the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, he received frostbite in both of his legs and spent over a year in a U.S. Army hospital in France. During his stay, we received many letters from him, assuring us that he was "OK."

During World War II, I had three stepbrothers who had joined the service. James was in the Navy, Richard was in the Army, Christy in the Marines. I was one of few kids in my neighborhood who had relatives in all branches. We were a three-star family. We displayed a little flag in our window at 9 Prescott St. with the three stars on it. And I was so proud of my brothers fighting for our country. one of the few kids that had three caps to wear: Army, Navy, Marines.

But it all changed April 17, 1946. Richard, who was released to come home in March 1946, died of an embolism on that day after being home for little over a month. Our family had not seen him for three years. I was only 11 when he died, and felt very bitter for a long, long time in trying to understand why God took away his life and the only father I ever knew.

Then, as I grew older, I had to come to grips with the fact that I wasn't alone. Thousands of others had also lost their loved ones during World War II. And I had to accept and live with it. And I did.

Comments (2)
Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Dec 10, 2014 09:31

We should all stop and take time to pray a prayer of thanksgiving for all who made the ultimate sacrifice that may enjoy the freedom we have today

Jan Dolcater

Posted by: Randy Andrew Scott | Dec 07, 2014 08:24

Thank you Terry! It seems there is no better history teacher than those that can tell the story  in a first person role. I enjoy hearing from you, and hundreds of others that I am fortunate to know personally of the lives that were impacted by events such as WWII. So many people in our country have so many moving stories to tell if we can  get them to do so, and so many of us can learn much about those that were there at that time. Thank you again!  Randy Scott


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