Pearl Harbor attack seen through the eyes of a child

By: Diane Cho Email
By: Diane Cho Email

December 7, 2006

It's been 65 years since the day Japan pushed America into a very different war.

It was a day those who were living at the time will never forget.

We've all heard the stories of the heroic men and women who were caught off guard that infamous day. Now, we hear the story told through a child's eyes.

General Perry Smith was only 6 years old when the Japanese planes attacked.

"I remember spending the whole day in the basement because we thought the Japanese were going to parachute down and invade the island."

Smith was on his way to Sunday school that morning on December 7, 1941.

"Every Sunday an army truck would pick us up."

As soon as they arrived he knew something was wrong.

They arrived at the fort just before 8, as the first Japanese planes opened fire.

"I saw an Army captain with a WWI helmet with a weapon, which we never see on Sunday morning at the post."

The captain quickly turned the driver around. It was a ride Smith would never forget.

"I was six and I was scared. They didn't tell us anything or what happened. Some of the older kids had figured it out but didn't know who was attacking us."

By the time the driver returned him home, his mother was already waiting outside.

"I got out of the truck and she gave us a big hug, and I didn't know why because we weren't a hugging family. We were Yankees. We shook hands."

Two months later, they were evacuated out of fear of more attacks.

2,000 people boarded a ship designed to hold 900.

"It was kind of like the Titanic."

And all these years later, it's still a day in American history that he will never forget.

General Smith is promoting a book he helped edit called Medal of Honor, which tells the stories of those who've won the nation's highest military honor.

One of those stories is about John Finn, who earned his Medal of Honor 65 years ago in Hawaii.

He's still alive and doing well at age 97.


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