Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday GUEST Blog: part 1

12-7-11 vacant brain
Ann has been inspired to write two blogs for me this week. ~ judy

Honoring The Greatest Generation - World War II Veterans

Today I’m inspired to write about December 7, 1941 and honor all World War II veterans, especially John Sebern, husband to Jean, father to Judy and Jan, grandfather to Christopher and Sarah, and friend to me- That Girl, for several reasons.

First inspiration, veterans – past and present.
As the country draws down the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, I hope we all take a moment to remember those killed in action, those returning wounded, and those still on the battlefront. Yes the debate will go on how we got there but one thing is for sure, no declaration of war was made. So that got me thinking of President Roosevelt’s speech after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Here’s a snippet:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. …………………….. It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago……….Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya, Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong, Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam, Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island, And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island…………..
President Franklin D. Roosevelt - December 8, 1941 (

I found this picture of the draft of the speech with the many corrections. Very interesting, I’m wondering who made the corrections. I trust it was President Roosevelt.

Here’s a clip of the President Roosevelt giving the speech.

Then I wondered, what was everyone doing on Sunday, December 7th , what time was the attack and so forth? Well, the bombing started at 7:55 am Hawaii time = 11:55 pm Central time. My Dad would have been 10 and I’m sure, it was days before he knew about it. At the time, Trinidad was under British rule and Britain was already in the war. His brother Mervin had enlisted and was stationed in England. Dad never saw his brother again. 

So what was John and Jean up to December 7, 1941? Only way to find out is to call, so I jingled them up at shortly after 0700. Here’s what they recall. Jean was age 13 and at home in Charles City. Her memory was very close to home. She had a relative who was on the USS Arizona. When the news broke on the radio, they were very worried. He served, died and is buried on the USS Arizona. 

John was 16 y/o, senior in high school (Cedar Rapids) and was ready for a January high school graduation (somebody is a smarty pants). He was at home listening to the Redskins vs Eagles football game. The news broke of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Fast forward four months, John turned 17 in April, 1942 and enlisted in the Marines the very next day, and shipped out on his Mother’s birthday, May 1, 1942. Gee whiz, we have something in common. I too graduated high school at 16, joined at 17, shipped out in 60 days and love the Redskins.  Haha hehe everyone.

Tomorrow, I have a special report on living WW II veterans, one you may know.

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