Frank Alderson was nine at the time of the 1941 bombing. He remembered being in his grandfather’s house at 9 a.m. when he heard Roosevelt’s speech on the radio. He remembered being scared because he didn’t know what was happening or what was going to happen. He said he had five uncles who fought in the war and that those next couple of years very difficult. He said that most people today don’t realize that the United States didn’t really get a handle on the fight until about 1943.
“People don’t realize how desperate things were,” Alderson said. “I remember when Britain was bombed. We didn’t know if we’d be next.”
Alderson said that one thing that kept his spirits up was General George S. Patton. Patton was Alderson’s favorite general because he “got stuff done.” He quoted an interview in which Patton said he didn’t worry about his defense because he was always on offense. He said that his cousin, Hilton Alderson, was stationed at Patton’s headquarters in France. Although Hilton couldn’t write home about it at the time because all the military letters were censored, he talked a lot about working with Patton after he came home, Alderson said.
Alderson said that growing up during the war was tough, but that Americans were equipped for it because they had just finished enduring the Great Depression. Remembering his ration books, he said he wasn’t sure if today’s society could handle a similar situation.
“If everything shut down and everyone was put on rations, people would panic,” he said.
Louise Morgan said it was “awful” living through. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, she was 20 years old and taking care of children at a day care center in Terre Haute, Ind. The next few years were hard on everyone, she said. She remembered how hard it was to live on ration books and not being able to get tires or gasoline for long periods of time. She said she worried about her brother, Jim Keith, all the time while he was stationed in Guam.
Bertha Martin was 10 at the time and was cleaning her front yard when she heard the sirens alerting the town of the news from Pearl Harbor.
More Pearl Harbor memories may be found in this week's Cadiz Record.