Souvenirs of Yesteryear: Day which still lives in infamy

Most of you reading this newspaper were probably born after Sunday December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated it. That was the day that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and pushed the United States into World War II. On Monday December 8, our Congress declared war on Japan. On Thursday December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on us and we promptly responded in kind. This was a war in which the vast majority of American citizens enthusiastically participated. Such a wave of widespread patriotism has not been witnessed since.



World War II actually started on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. It ended piecemeal. Italy surrendered on September 28, 1943; Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, VE (Victory in Europe) Day, and Japan finally surrendered on August 14, 1945, VJ Day.

Those of us who are old enough can still remember where we were and what we were doing on that date of infamy 66 years ago. In the photo are two local veterans who have very vivid memories. Bernard “Bernie” Merritt (on the left) and Leland “Lee” Swertfager are showing me the hill in the Town of Preston where they were skiing on that pivotal Sunday. With them were Lee’s older brother, Ed, and Bill Wright.


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