13
On the Home Front

In mainland America the day began innocently enough: a calm Sunday at the end of autumn. Football season was almost over, and most high school athletes were glad, because they were tired of being tackled on the frozen, cleat-marked ground. Basketball in the heated, crowded gymnasium was something to look forward to.

The weather was dry and sunny throughout most of the country, although people in Norfolk, Virginia, complained that it was the coldest day of the year. Perhaps the coldest city in the country was Chicago, which reported a temperature of 37 degrees with a strong wind off Lake Michigan.

All across America, Christmas decorations hung from lamp posts and adorned store windows, and municipal Christmas trees had been decorated and lit in squares and public parks. A few homes had a decorated tree in front of the living room window, but most families would wait until two weeks before Christmas to get a tree. Many families would make their own decorations: strings of berries and popcorn on heavy thread, paper chains, popcorn balls, stars or other figures of cardboard covered with tinfoil, and perhaps a store-bought angel for the top of the tree.

Most families would rise a little later than on the other six days, and breakfast would be later and less organized. Some fathers and children would prepare their own breakfasts and eat in silence while reading their favorite sections of the newspaper. Some would listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the radio. Children reading the backs of cereal boxes were likely to find military aircraft identification kits, biographies of fa-

-97-

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The Day the War Began
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction: Saturday, December 6, 1941 1
  • 1 - The First Shot 21
  • 2 - The Americans Fight Back 27
  • 3 - Adventures of the Henley 43
  • 4 - Game Called Due to War 49
  • 5 - View from the Cane Fields 53
  • 6 - Friendly Fire 61
  • 7 - Chinese-American Family 66
  • 8 - Hell on a Sunshiny Day 70
  • 9 - The Military Takes Over Hawaii 77
  • 10 - Niihau Fights Back 82
  • 11 - The Saga of the Pacific Clipper 86
  • 12 - The Forgotten Attack 93
  • 13 - On the Home Front 97
  • 14 - War Comes to the Football Game 105
  • 15 - The Delayed Message 114
  • 16 - The White House Prepares for War 120
  • 17 - War Becomes a Reality 124
  • 18 - Extra! Extra! 132
  • 19 - Strange New Words 135
  • 20 - Sudden Heroes 142
  • 21 - The Mating Dance Continues 149
  • 22 - The Nation Unifies 154
  • 23 - Hawaii's Longest Night 157
  • 24 - Defending the East Coast 162
  • 25 - I Slept Like a Baby 166
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 181
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