Have you ever asked an older person if they were living December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day . . . where they were or what they were doing?

That was a momentous day in U.S. history that sparked World War II and drastically changed the way we lived in our country.

I was a 21-year-old Bradshaw native, a teacher at District 13 country school three miles southwest of York. Kirkpatrick, Philson, Opitz, Jeffrey, Linder, Gerken and Brooke children were enrolled.

That Sunday, my boyfriend, Kenny Mason, and I attended a matinee, “Shadows of the Thin Men,” at the Sun Theatre.

When we got out of the show, newsboys from the Lincoln State Journal were on the downtown streets. We were shocked to hear them shouting, “Extra, Extra, Pearl Harbor is bombed!”

A group of Kenny’s friends gathered nearby yelled, “The country’s at war and here is Kenny Mason with a woman!”

The next day, I was invited to the home of Clint and Nell Kirkpatrick to hear President Franklin D. Roosevelt announce on the radio the United States Declaration of War on Japan.

The next few months, we experienced a whirlwind of life changing events. Kenny and I eloped to Kansas. He was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Crook, Omaha. I became an Army wife for three years. As newlyweds, we spent our first year living 1,700 miles apart: Kenny training at Camp White, Oregon, for overseas assignment and I teaching primary grades at Polk, Nebraska public school.

Later, cousin Pastor Leland Smith would describe the era, “It was a highly emotional stressful time.”

If you will ask an elder of your family who was living December 7, 1941, it may reveal a piece of family history you might never know otherwise.

Bernice Richardson

Mason, York

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