Hawaii's Longest Night
It was Hawaii's longest night. With the radio stations off the air and only the calm voice of Jimmy Wong, the police dispatcher, for information, rumors swept the islands. Darkness comes swiftly in the tropics, and with the entire island of Oahu blacked out, fear became an epidemic. Nobody knew anything, nothing could be seen moving on the streets, and few people with guns were trained in using them. It had been more than twenty years since any American serviceman had fired at an enemy, and many of those with rifles and sidearms were civilians trying to help.
Several times that night guns, from antiaircraft cannon to pistols, were fired at imaginary targets. In spite of the general confusion, the emergency agencies in Honolulu went about their business in a generally orderly fashion. The leaders and corps of volunteers stayed up most of the night, blacking out windows and building light traps over doorways. The Red Cross and Salvation Army kept their canteens going around the clock, and the latter stationed men in front of its headquarters, on both sides of the darkened street, to tell everyone passing by that food and drink were inside. By midnight they counted 127 meals served, many of them to men coming back to town from Pearl Harbor who had not eaten since breakfast.
Although petty crime and looting were not a problem in Honolulu, the police were very busy and frustrated. They banged up the patrol cars by bumping into things in the darkness, or being bumped into. If they ran out of gasoline, and several did, there was little or no hope of getting