Sandburg's Hometown

December 7, 2016

U.S. and Japs at War - Chicago Tribune - 8 Dec 1941

Chicago Daily Tribune - December 8, 1941 - 75 years ago

Memories of Pearl Harbor

by Barbara Schock

On Saturday evening, December 6, 1941, the Galesburg firefighters held their seventeenth annual Fireman's Ball in the National Guard Armory on North Broad Street. The men had decorated the large hall with paper streamers in shades of blue which covered the walls and ceiling. A cluster of  balloons in shades of blue hung from the center of the ceiling.


The dance had attracted a large crowd because Joe Sanders and his Nighthawks provided the music.


The Fire Chief, Earl E. Cratty, had ordered all fire equipment to be parked in front of the Armory. If an emergency call had been received, the men would have lost no time in answering. Engines of some of the machines were kept running so a quick response could be made.


A few hours after the dance had ended, planes of the Japanese Imperial Navy struck Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. It was the home of the United States Pacific Fleet, as well as a number of army bases. The attack was a surprise and the destruction was massive. The first wave of aircraft included 51 bombers, 89 torpedo planes and 43 fighters. The second wave consisted of 78 bombers, 54 torpedo planes and 35 fighters. The planes had been brought within flying distance by six aircraft carriers.


By Monday morning, December 8th, the Armory had been closed to the public. Mrs. C.P. Rossberg announced the Red Cross would be allowed to continue its work in the building. She explained that workers should rattle the north door if they wanted to see her.


The Daily Register-Mail also reported the Galesburg Airport on North Henderson Street had been closed and all airplanes grounded. Some seventy cadets had been trained as pilots at the airport through a program conducted by Knox College. Captain F.W. Lovely of Company C, Illinois National Guard was asking for volunteers to fill its ranks.


On page two of the newspaper it was reported that Dean Cebert, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Cebert, 144 North Chambers Street, had been killed by a bullet “in the Nipponese air raid on Sunday morning.” He had been transferred to the Hawaiian Islands only two weeks earlier.


Several readers had reported to the newspaper they had relatives living or working in the Islands. It is amazing how the people of Galesburg have always been ready to go almost any place in the world.


The editorial in the Register-Mail was titled “America at War.” One sentence seems to sum up the feeling of the time. “The manner of attack was such as must provoke a spirit of universal American indignation, and a general cry for reprisal of the most severe character possible.”


On Tuesday, December 9th, it was reported Corporal Robert R. Garrett, 240 West Main Street, had been killed in action at Hickam Field, Honolulu, during the attack on Sunday. He had enlisted in 1933 after graduating from Abingdon High School. He was a cockpit gunner in the 42nd Bomb Squadron. His brother, Darwin, had gone to Hawaii to enlist there. His whereabouts were unknown


Ensign Frederick Walsh, son of Mr. and Mrs. M.R. Walsh, was reported to have been aboard the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Enterprise. The Japanese had reported the ship sunk. Fortunately, all of the aircraft carriers had left Pearl Harbor for naval exercises prior to the attack.

Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Sommers of Knoxville, had received a telephone message from their daughter-in-law in San Francisco. Their son, Edward, was a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. He had been first officer on a Pan-American Clipper, which had landed safely in Hawaii later on Sunday.


Two men, Lyle R. Forsyth and Robert Young, were believed to have been aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma.  Unknown to the readers of the Register-Mail, the battleship had been sunk.


The American losses at Pearl Harbor and other military bases in the Hawaiian Islands included nineteen ships, six of which were battleships; 150 airplanes were destroyed on the ground and more than 2,400 soldiers, sailors and civilian had been killed. Almost 1200 persons had been wounded.


News of the attack was first made public through radio broadcasts. Many people listened to various radio programs on Sunday afternoon as a pleasant pastime. Some listeners complained that their favorite programs were being preempted by news bulletins.


On December 8th, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress. The seven minute, twelve second speech has become known as the “Infamy Speech.” It is regarded as one of the important documents of American history. He began by saying  “Yesterday,  December 7th, 1941,  a  which date will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”


He continued by saying that the Japanese forces had traveled a great distance to conduct the raid making it obvious the attack was deliberately planned and required a great deal of preparation. Attacks had been launched against other Asian-Pacific countries as well.


He said, “Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”


Less than an hour after the speech had been delivered, Congress, with but one dissenting vote, passed a formal decoration of war against Japan.


The headline on the first page of the Register-Mail on December 10th  carried this title “U.S. Faces Long War But Ultimate Victory Ours, President Says.” The article was an analysis of Roosevelt's “Fireside Chat” delivered on the evening of December 9th. His remarks made clear that the threat of war with Germany and Italy was a greater danger than that of Japan.


Almost unnoticed, the weather had turned unseasonably cold. The temperature on the morning of December 9th was thirteen degrees. It was expected that the cold weather would continue for several more days with the possibility of below-zero temperatures.


[NOTE: Barbara Schock recently presented the above address to her local Galesburg chapter of the DAR.  While this goes well beyond the time period usually covered in her Sandburg's Hometown articles, she thought our readers might find it interesting (and timely), nonetheless.]


Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
December 7, 2016 Memories of Pearl Harbor
December 5, 2016 The Coffee Mill
November 28, 2016 Robert J. Samuelson
November 21, 2016  The Chrysanthemum Rules
November 14, 2016 Newspapers
October 31, 2016 Frederick Dickinson
October 24, 2016 The Reverend Carl A. Nyblad
October 17, 2016 Talk Not Always Cheap
October 10, 2016 "It Will Live in Bronze"
September 19, 2016 J. Charles "Frenchy" Juneau
September 12, 2016

Oscar F. "Husky" Larson

September 5, 2016 Obituaries
August 29, 2016 Aaron Boyer, Broommaker
August 22, 2016 The Panic of 1873
August 15, 2016 The Swan Prize
August 8, 2016 Chautauqua
July 18, 2016 Street Lighting
July 11, 2016 Cedar Fork
July 4, 2016 Shelden W. Allen
June 20, 2016 Conrad Byloff
June 13, 2016 Edward W. Rosenberg
June 6, 2016 Lawrence Futhey
May 30, 2016 Memory
May 23, 2016 Decoration Day, 1881
May 16, 2016 William Cullen Bryant
May 9, 2016 College Days
May 2, 2016  A Military Career Thwarted 
April 25, 2016  How to Sweep a Room
April 18, 2016 The Marsh Horse and Mule Market
April 11, 2016 Horses Everywhere
April 4, 2016 Victor A. Thoureen
March 28, 2016 Nicknames
March 21, 2016 Corporal Edward P. Peckenpaugh
March 14, 2016 Hold Still!
March 7, 2016 Capt. T. L. McGirr
February 29, 2016 Sparrow Season
February 22, 2016 George W. Erickson
February 15, 2016 George Helgeson Fitch
February 8, 2016  Anna Charlotte Goldquist
February 1, 2016 "Little Boy Blue"
January 25, 2016 Always the Young Strangers
January 18, 2016 George R. Longbrake
January 11, 2016 Fred Cook
January 4, 2016 Domestic Help
December 14, 2015 Justice of the Peace B.F. Holcomb
November 30, 2015 Standardized Time
November 23, 2015 Joseph H. Knutson
November 16, 2015 Wells and Cisterns 
November 2, 2015 Willis E. Calkins
October 26, 2015 Galesburg Pottery
October 19, 2015 Private Lewis H. Kay
October 12, 2015 The Klondike Gold Rush
September 28, 2015 Charles L. Bloomgren
September 21, 2015 The Gilded Age
September 14, 2015 Oliver Optic
August 31, 2015 The "Spanish" Cannon
August 24, 2015 The Company C Men
August 17, 2015 Jacob A. Riis
August 10, 2015 Mason Jars
August 3, 2015  October 7, 1896
July 27, 2015 The Soldier's Monument
July 20, 2015 Ice
July 13, 2015 Moses O. Williamson
July 6, 2015 Sweet Little Alix
June 29, 2015 Sharlie's Shickens
June 22, 2015 Anna Held & John Drew
June 15, 2015 Hartel & Secker Meat Market
June 8, 2015 Girls
June 1, 2015 Old First Church - Part II
May 25, 2015 Old First Church - Part I
May 18, 2015 Marbles
May 11, 2015 Pawnee County, Kansas
May 4, 2015 Detective Stories and the Real Thing
April 27, 2015 Professor Isaac A. Parker
April 20, 2015 Celluloid Collars
April 13, 2015 Asparagus
April 6, 2015  Mayor John C. Stewart 
March 30, 2015 Basket Ball
March 23, 2015 The Courthouse of Knox County, IL
March 16, 2015

“Trifles make perfection...”

March 9, 2015 Uncle Tom's Cabin
March 2, 2015 Martha Sandburg Goldstone
February 23, 2015 Devotion
February 16, 2015  Gumbiner's Pawn Shop 
February 9, 2015 White Bread
February 2, 2015 The Monarch Club
January 26, 2015 The Silver Dollar
January 19, 2015 The Fulton County Narrow Gauge Railway
January 12, 2015 The Four Corners
December 22, 2014 Swedish Christmas
December 8, 2014 Christmas 1878
December 1, 2014 Bunker Boots & Shoes
November 24, 2014 Galesburg, Illinois
November 17, 2014 It was Buffalo Bill's Day
November 10, 2014 The Election of 1896 (A follow-up story)
November 3, 2014 The Election of 1896 (continued)
October 27, 2014 The Election of 1896
October  24, 2014 The Rissywarn
October 20, 2014 The Parlor Stove
October 13, 2014 Ashes to Ashes
October 6, 2014 Jesse James
Sept. 29, 2014 Lester T. Stone, Public Servant
Sept. 22, 2014 It's Who You Know
Sept 15, 2014 Mother of the Illinois Flag
Sept 8, 2014 The Scissors Grinder
Sept 1, 2014 Baseball
August 25, 2014 Howard K. Knowles, Capitalist
August 18, 2014  Alcoholic Beverages
August 11, 2014 Soda Water
August 4, 2014 Sweet Corn
July 28, 2014 Marching Through Georgia
July 21, 2014 The Knox County Fair
July 14, 2014 The Panic of 1893
July 7, 2014 The Rev. T. N. Hasselquist
June 30, 2014 The Knox County Courthouse
June 23, 2014 The Family Photograph Album
June 16, 2014 Parades
June 9, 2014 Lingonberries
June 2, 2014 Where We Live
May 26, 2014 Old Main
May 19, 2014 Rhythms of the Railroad
May 12, 2014 Spring Tonic
May 5, 2014 The Milkmen
April 28, 2014 Gray's "Elegy..."
April 21, 2014 Off to War
April 14, 2014 Swedish Easter
April 7, 2014 A Father's Face
March 31, 2014 Secret Societies
March 24, 2014 George A. Murdock, Merchant
March 10, 2014 Trade Cards
March 3, 2014 The Demorest Medal
February 24, 2014 Rip Van Winkle
February 17, 2014 Cabbage Soup
February 10, 2014 Lincoln's Birthday
February 3, 2014 4  The Colonel
January 27, 2014 The Lincoln Penny - A Little History
January 20, 2014 Walking to Work
January 13, 2014  A Small Abode
January 6, 2014 Birth of a Poet
December 30, 2013 Christmas 1880
December 23, 2013 Swedish Christmas
December 16, 2013 The Reporter Sees Santa
December 9, 2013 The Coming of Christmas
December 2, 2013 The Fire Boys Talk
November 25, 2013 Galesburg Will Feast on Turkeys and Cranberries - Thanksgiving 1893
November 18, 2013 Mary Sandburg Johnson
November 11, 2013 Carl Sandburg's Bicycle
November 4, 2013 Lace Curtains
October 28, 2013 The Front Room
October 21, 2013 A Warm Breakfast
October 14, 2013 Marion D. Shutter
October 7, 2013 Cigars and Consumption
September 30, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke & August Sandburg
September 16, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke, Mayor
September 9, 2013 Dusty Streets
September 2, 2013 Typhoid Fever
August 26, 2013 Coffee and Water
August 19, 2013 A Horse! A Horse!
August 12, 2013 Gaddial Scott
August 5, 2013 The Racetrack
July 29, 2013 John Peter Algeld - Part II
July 22, 2013 John Peter Altgeld - Part I
July 15, 2013 Tramps, Tramps, Tramps
July 8, 2013 Lady Liberty
July 1, 2013 Galesburg's Fourth
June 24, 2013 John H. Finley
June 17, 2013 The World's Columbian Exhibition
June 10, 2013 Fruit Short-Cake
June 3, 2013 Horatio Alger, Author
May 27, 2013 Memorial Day, 1887
May 20, 2013 Professor Jon W. Grubb
May 13, 2013 Beginnings of Lombard University
May 6, 2013 Young Sandburg’s View of Lombard College
April 29, 2013 Thinking
April 22, 2013 Robert Colville, Master Mechanic
April 15, 2013 The Galesburg Opera House
April 8, 2013 Grocery Stores and Sample Rooms
April 1, 2013  A Hearty  Breakfast 
March 25, 2013  The Lost Wallpaper Legend 
March 18, 2013 Martin G. Sandburg
March 4, 2013 The Edison Talking Machine
February 25, 2013 Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran
February 18, 2013 Remember the Maine...
February 11, 2013 Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 Curiosity