Rememering Pearl Harbor Decemeber 7, 1941.

by Curt Williams

Pearl-Hbr 12-7-41

During the afternoon a radio announcement came that there would be a territory wide

blackout from sundown to sunrise. Well from then on we thought of plans for the night.

A maid next store, Japanese, told me she thought we should each pack a little bag, and in

addition to extra clothing to put in some first aid supplies.

I followed her suggestion and with a warm kimono, my only woolen coat such as it is,

and a flashlight, felt that they were ready for an emergency as they were placed near an

outside door. I then had an early dinner in almost complete darkness, another unusual


The next morning: I came to my own place, and as everything was ready and there were

no lights, it did not take me long to crawl into bed.

As you know I am an excellent sleeper and so slept through the night, getting awake at

6:10 this morning. It was not as long of a night as I expected and am certainly glad that

I was not weak minded and went elsewhere just to have company.

This morning I have heard no news and the irony of fate - my radio has refused to work,

although it was in excellent condition late last night.

You no doubt know more about what has happened here than I do. The people who have

radios capable of getting mainland reception picked up interesting bits of news that were

not given over our stations, the reasons for this was no doubt that our stations were

needed for getting instructions to volunteer groups and the population as a whole.

I hope when you heard the news you were not upset or too worried for oftentimes when

one is on the scene it is not as bad as it seems to those hearing about it or reading about


There is a wonderful organization set up and everybody will certainly be taken care of if

it is at all possible. The governor issued a statement declaring martial law and

congratulating the people for their calmness.

I felt last night as I looked over the city that Americans can certainly meet an emergency

for the city was in absolute darkness - not a light to be seen anyplace. We might as well

have been in wilderness as far as the blackness of the night and the noises of the night -

falling leaves, wind through the trees, and chirping of insects.

The night was dark as far as lights in houses, on streets and automobiles, but overhead

the stars were shinning brightly and the clouds were lighted by rays from the moon.

As I looked through a window I could see a tree, only on the top of which seemed to be a

star, and it looked like a Christmas tree.​

Yesterday, upon looking over the city and harbor, everything was beautifully green, with

here and there flamboyant colors from tall poinsettias, hibiscus, cups of gold, alamandas,

and Christmas berries and my prayer was, dear god, let this beauty not be destroyed by




And the bands played on. Edna's letter sort of sets the mood at the end of 1941 as

people observed the Christmas Holidays and celebrated New Years Eve as best they

could. As the people of the Panther Valley and the rest of the world looked

apprehensively to what 1942 had in store for them, life in the Panther Valley would go


High schools would continue with their winter basketball games, miners would go

off to work just like they always had, and government contracts for more coal to heat the

barracks at the military posts would increase, as would business at the Atlas Powder

Company down at the little village of Reynolds.

Milkmen would continue their early morning deliveries. Small neighborhood

grocery stores, as well as the popular corner watering holes and the local mailman, would

become even more important as places and sources to get the latest information about

how the war was affecting everyone, while life in general would just go on. However,

things would never be the same again.

If there are any readers out there who were residents of the Panther Valley in

1941, and who were at Pearl Harbor, Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Field, Hickam, or

other places in Hawaii or the Philippines on December 7, 1941, serving in a military or

civilian role, I'd like to hear from you.

Some of the young men mentioned in this and previous articles, like some of the

young athletes who played for the different schools in this area, a member of one of the

small graduating classes, as well as some of the men in the service on December 7, 1941,

would later be claimed by World War II.

I know because their names are on the War Memorials and Plaques scattered

throughout the Panther Valley, dedicated to all the young men and women from this area

who served and died as a result of action they experienced or were involved in during

their tour of duty.

One thing that I have to mention. If any names of either people or places are

misspelled I apologize. I get the names out of the newspaper as they were printed at that

time. I have sometimes seen the same person's name with several variations of spelling.

I really don't know which one would be the correct version.​

Changes were coming that would affect everyone and I believe this an appropriate

spot to pause in my story about the bands that played at Lakewood Park. Tentatively, this

article brings me to the end of 1941.