Locals recall pivotal event in history of world affairs

11:32 am | December 7, 2012

Although 71 years have passed since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor pushed the United States into World War II, many people still retain vivid memories of the day in December of 1941 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared would live in infamy.

Photo from the National Archives and Records Administration
The USS Arizona burns after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 71 years ago today. The wreckage remains at Pearl Harbor as a national memorial to commemorate the loss of life on what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called, “A date which will live in infamy.”

Elizabethton resident Ray Hill was 20 years old and in the middle of his senior year of high school in Cadillac, Mich., during the Pearl Harbor attack; Dean Batchelder, who also lives in Elizabethton, was 11 years old and living on a dairy farm south of Menomonie, Wis.; and Carter County resident Jo Voigt was only two years old and living with her family on Staten Island, N.Y.

Although Voigt does not have any real memories of the announcement of the attack to American citizens, she does remember quite vividly an old family movie that included a newspaper bearing the headline, “Japs Bomb Pearl Harbor.”

Batchelder, on the other hand, clearly remembers the announcement of the attack coming over the radio. He said that his most profound memory of that time was the sense of nationalism that seemed to sweep across the entire nation after the attack.

“In my lifetime, I have never seen the patriotism and the spirit of the people that came forward after the Japanese attack,” Batchelder said. “It was like the whole nation was mobilized.”

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