Editor, The Cheshire Herald:
“Thank you” is inadequate to John White for his article on World War II and the development and decisions surrounding the atomic bomb. Does everyone forget it was Japan that attacked us on Dec. 7, 1941 in Hawaii when the Pacific Fleet was in port?
Now 91 years of age, it is still vivid to me: Sunday dinner in our Brooklyn Heights apartment, the NY Philharmonic on the radio. The broadcast stopped. An announcer stated, “Japan has attacked the United States in Hawaii.” Alice, our young Irish helper, stood still. “My brother is there in the Navy,” she said. The Japanese were not only destroying ships, but killing or wounding thousands of men. What had happened to her brother?
Life changed dramatically. My father was up and down the East Coast supplying piping to Naval ships and to the power plants that were responding to the huge industrialization. Alice went to work in a defense industry.
The War was everywhere: Newspaper death lists, magazine photos, movie newsreels. The radio never stopped.
Blackout shades and curtains went in every home.
Fathers became nighttime Air Raid Wardens on streets or beaches. We had air raid drills.
Mothers volunteered at Manhattan’s USO, replaced nurses called into service, and took other essential jobs.
Classmates and I rolled bandages at a hospital.
My cousin, Gordon Thayer, was deployed to the Pacific; the draft began; we prayed for brothers and friends and the young men who had worked our farm. Mr. Galco came to the rescue with his team.
President Roosevelt initiated price controls, rationing of food, clothing, shoes, and the gas allotments curtailed trips to Cheshire. We bought War Bonds and raised money for the Red Cross. At our farm, we raised money for British War Relief by an attic play and backyard games.
The attack by Japan started all this. The power-hungry leaders of Germany and Japan killed hundreds of thousands in small Pacific Islands and the towns of Europe. It was the unified peoples of the United States and the strength of our system that brought World War II to a final end.