My Mom - A Pearl Harbor Survivor
This December 7th, 2016, marks the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing which launched the United States into WWII. There will be a special ceremony at Pearl Harbor-Hickam honoring the handful of survivors, most of whom were young military men at the time of the attack, and are now in their mid to late 90's. Although I'm told the oldest scheduled attendee is106 years old.
My mother is a native of Hawaii and was only 14 years old that early morning on December 7th when she heard the engines of very unfamiliar planes approaching and then saw one pass so close to her bedroom window at Hickam housing that she could see the face of the Japanese bomber pilot. She woke up the family who then ran outside to listen to the car radio since the electricity had gone out in the house. While outside, my mother saw the ricochet of shrapnel whiz past her.
She was in her first year of high school when the war began and she completed high school the year the war ended. She spent all four years under Marshall Law as a U.S. citizen whose story, like many other Hawaiian civilians at the time, still remains to be acknowledged in American history.
Mom has spent the last 25 years trying to to officially be recognized as a Pearl Harbor survivor. Because she is a civilian, the U.S. government was not interested in her story. Now that there are so few left alive to give first hand accounts, she is finally being recognized and will be honored as a survivor at the official December 7th commemoration this year. Mom turned 89 October 20th.
It is confirmed that President Barack Obama will be speaking at the December 7th ceremonies.
Historical Note: Few Americans know that Japanese Americans, other civilians, along with POWs were held in internment camps located in Hawaii during WWII.
Marleen M. Quint,
daughter of Pearl Harbor Survivor,
Eleanor (Pereira) Shannon