THE SADDEST DAY

Remembering Pearl Harbor and the U.P. men lost in the attack

The USS West Virginia and the USS Tennessee burn on Dec. 7, 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Navy photo)

By Larry Chabot
The boy was on his way home from his favorite Sunday afternoon pastime: the matinee at the Ontonagon Theater. As he walked into the house on the Rockland Road, he saw his parents huddled by the radio, listening intently. Before he realized what was happening, he was sent to a neighbor’s home to wait …

It was December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese attack on U.S. military facilities in Hawaii plunged the country into war. The boy was Bob Valley, and his brother Lowell was a sailor on a battleship at Pearl Harbor. All over the country, the Valleys and thousands of other families began the agonizing wait for word about their loved ones in Hawaii.
That was 77 years ago. In the weeks leading up to the attack, rampant rumors of war put Americans on edge. Some men were already fighting, like the 9,000 Americans in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In the U.S., the military draft had just entered its second year, with thousands drilling in camps or on active duty. About 200,000 citizens were employed on defense jobs. Ontonagon kindergarten teacher Rita Powers and her husband left for the Philippines not long before the Japanese attacked that island chain. It’s not known if she survived the war.
On that fateful Sunday, just before Bob Valley began trudging up the hill, President Franklin Roosevelt was in the White House working on his huge postage stamp collection. Because the four Roosevelt sons were in uniform, the First Family shared the tenseness in American homes.
In Marquette, The Mining Journal noted that Robert Belmore had enlisted and was heading for training in Missouri…

For the full story please pick up a copy of Marquette Monthly from one of our distributors

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.