Wednesday, December 7, 2016


This simple message announced the attack on Hawaii 75 years ago.

The Library of Congress reproduces the document in its post for the anniversary:

"A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL"

As chance would have it, when I shared this post on Twitter, one of my tweeps informed me that the Museum of World War II in Natick also has a version of the document in its collections. (Another destination to add to my list.) It would be interesting to know how many others are extant.

Among other items mentioned in the LOC blog post:

• an annotated script from the NBC news broadcast on that day

• a description of folklorist Alan Lomax's response to the crisis. Best known today as a collector and chronicler of folk music, he put his ethnographic bent to work in the service of oral history, recording the reactions of ordinary people across the country.

The post includes this sample:

My first thought was what a great pity that… another nation should be added to those aggressors who strove to limit our freedom. I find myself at the age of eighty, an old woman, hanging on to the tail of the world, trying to keep up. I do not want the driver’s seat. But the eternal verities–there are certain things that I wish to express: one thing that I am very sure of is that hatred is death, but love is light. I want to contribute to the civilization of the world but…when I look at the holocaust that is going on in the world today, I’m almost ready to let go…”

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