75 Years Ago Today: Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941


Wreckage at the Naval Air Station (SC-269)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While Hawaii seemed like a world away in 1941, the Miami Valley would be greatly impacted by the events of December 7th.

Alice Griffith Carr, a Yellow Springs native, was in St. Louis, Missouri, for a speaking engagement on December 7, 1941. Her letter, dated December 8, 1941, to her cousin Nannie (Bessie Totten), describes her reaction to the news of Pearl Harbor. Alice, like Americans all around the country, spent the evening in front of the radio awaiting news updates.


Alice to Bessie Totten, MS-135, Box 1, File 6

Alice Carr had a unique view of the world at the time. She served as a nurse with the Red Cross during World War I and had remained in Europe working as a nurse and public health administrator until the Nazis expelled all Americans from Greece in the summer of 1941. For more information on her service and career read the previous blog entry.

On December 8th at 12:30pm, Americans again gathered around the radio as President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress with his famous “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” speech. By 4:00pm, President Roosevelt had signed the declaration of war and the United States was officially at war with Japan. The Miami Valley would soon hear the call to duty.

A list of World War II collections held by Special Collections & Archives can be found here.


U.S.S. West Virginia (SC-269)

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