Like Betty's family, Americans counted on the radio for up-to-the-minute
news and gathered around the radio every day for the latest
Photo Credit: National Archives.
7, 1941, I was celebrating my 15th birthday. It was Sunday, and
I had my young girlfriends over for ice cream and cake. At four
o'clock in the afternoon the radio announced the Japanese bombing
of Pearl Harbor. One of my friends began crying, and rushed home
her brother was already in the Navy, and she thought he was
killed. (Luckily he was okay.) My grandparents, aunt, and my mother
all became very serious. Everyone's first question was: Where is
Pearl Harbor? Finally, the radio told us that Pearl Harbor was in
I don't think
any of us ate my birthday cake. We were all too upset.
That night I
was in my bed, and at 11:00 p.m., a plane flew over. I jumped out
of bed and asked my mother if we were going to be bombed. She said,
"No, it's just the mail plane from Philadelphia going to Newark
Airport. It flies over at 11:00 every night." Comforted, I went
What do you think most Americans were thinking after Pearl Harbor
was bombed? Do you think they expected another world war at that
Learn more about Pearl
Harbor through an overview and timeline and read Johnie
and Dale Gano's eyewitness account.