COLUMBUS - Dec. 7, 1941, was indeed, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt attested, "a day which will live in infamy." The Ohio Departments of Aging and Veterans' Services commemorate Pearl Harbor Day with a special installment of their joint War Era Story Project. The 19 stories published today to the Ohio Department of Aging's website (www.aging.ohio.gov/news/storyprojects) were written by those who remember vividly where they were and what they were doing on that fateful day. Stories include:
Joseph Alessi, Jr., age 81, Youngstown - At age 10, Mr. Alessi was a paperboy for the Youngstown Vindicator. He remembers being awakened by his supervisor with a special edition of the paper to deliver immediately.
Jackie M. Boyd, Cincinnati - Mr. Boyd was in high school when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Two years later, he enlisted and was assigned to a ship in the South Pacific. He survived a kamikaze attack and was on the escort team for Ernie Pyle when the reporter was killed.
George Forrest, age 84, Belen, NM - Mr. Belen was a teenager in Bowling Green, Ohio, when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. While his older brothers went to fight, he stayed home and helped on the family farm and worked in factories. He was drafted as the war was winding down.
Catherine Gary, age 85, Sharonville - Mrs. Gary was 14 at the time of Pearl Harbor and remembers how that fateful day changed life for her and her community. While singing for soldiers at Fort Bragg, she fell in love with a man who was later killed in battle.
James Gillis, age 77, Huber Heights - Mr. Gillis was only six years old when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, but he remembers hearing the news. His father was a marine and sent a cryptic message home that signaled to his mother that he was in Pearl Harbor, since letters were being censored.
David J. Goodman, age 80, Moreland Hills - Mr. Goodman was 10 years old when he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor, but he reckons he was more frightened by the prospect of war than most children his age because he was Jewish.
Mary Ann Logar, age 79, Lorain - Ms. Logar remembers hearing about Pearl Harbor as an 8-year-old girl. One brother was already in the Army and was sent to the southwest Pacific. Her other brother was injured when his ship was sunk. Her sister served in the WAACs.
Rolla E. Malan, age 92, Fairborn - Mr. Malan served aboard the U.S.S. Preble and was in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese planes attacked. He recalls the reaction on the ground to the unthinkable act.
Mary Ann Martin, age 99, Greenville - After Pearl Harbor, Mrs. Martin began working for the war effort at Wright Field in Dayton. She made parts for guns, which she found appropriate, since Annie Oakley was a distant relative. She met her future husband in Dayton and followed him through his military training.
Winnie McFarland, age 71 - Ms. McFarland was only eight months old at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, but she remembers seeing cousins come home on leave in their uniforms and wanting to be a sailor. She also remembers celebrating victory in Japan by banging pots and pans.
Nicholas C. Nett, age 78, Liberty Township - A boy of eight years when Pearl Harbor was attacked, Mr. Nett describes home life for him and his community. He recalls how the community mourned together when one of their own was lost to the war, and how they celebrated together when the war ended.
James. S. Parobek, Lorain - Mr. Parobek remembers paperboys going up and down his street on Dec. 7, 1941, shouting "EXTRA," with the news of Pearl Harbor. He recalls that we were a strong nation that supported our soldiers.
Virginia Snowden, age 84, Cincinnati - The attack on Pearl Harbor would change Ms. Snowden's family forever. She was the youngest of six children and the only girl. All five of her brothers served. Two were killed in action and a third spent much of the war in a Japanese prison camp. Her other two brothers were sent home due to her family's hardship.
Teresa A. Stamm, age 77, Cincinnati - Ms. Stamm was only 7 when the attack on Pearl Harbor drew the U.S. into the war. She recalls her father serving as an air raid warden and her mother working in a factory building planes. She remembers how her community celebrated when the war ended.
Gabrielle Strand, age 74, Liberty Township - Pearl Harbor inspired Ms. Strand's brother, a pilot and engineering student, to enlist. During the winter of '43, on Christmas Day, he received pictures of his family playing in the snow. It was the highlight for her brother and his companions, but it was also the last Christmas he would see.
Jeanneane Engle Teti, age 74, Fairborn - Ms. Teti was only three when her father responded to the call and she would not see him again until three years later. She recalls that she did not know him when he returned from service in the Army Air Corps.
Chad Wade, age 82, Union City - Mr. Wade was 11 when Pearl Harbor was attacked and remembers how the rush of many young men in his community changed home life for him and his neighbors. Everyone felt a need to support the war effort in some way.
Jean Wexler, age 90, Milford - Having already heeded the call to be ready for war, Ms. Wexler was in nursing school when Pearl Harbor was attacked. She joined the Cadet Nurse Corps and was inducted into the Army. She worked at a hospital in Washington treating war wounded and found the work rewarding.
Leon White, Columbiana - Mr. White remembers hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor while driving home. He was inspired by the attack to enlist. He recalls how they had to fight off recruits because their train would not hold them.
These stories join 46 others that were posted last month, in honor of Veteran's Day. The agencies received nearly 300 submissions and will continue to release them in small batches until all have been shared.
The War Era Story Project was a follow-up to the Department of Aging's award-winning 2009 Great Depression Story Project. Since this project was intended to explore Ohio's war-time experience, the Department teamed with the Ohio Department of Veterans Services to collect stories from veterans of World War II, as well as the men, women and children who held steady on the home front. The project garnered submissions from 284 individuals, including 21 who currently reside out of state or who did not provide location information. Ohio residents represent 50 different counties. Of the authors who provided an age, the oldest was 100 and the youngest was 25. The average age of the authors was 83.
About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation and responsiveness to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
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