Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Atlanta recollections of Pearl Harbor Day

It was a Sunday morning in Hawaii but, given the time difference, it was a Sunday afternoon in Atlanta when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941.

Twenty years ago, prior to the 50th anniversary of America's entry into World War II, I interviewed several Atlanta area residents about their recollections of the day.

Former WSB General Manager Elmo Ellis was among them. At the time, Ellis was a publicist for the station.

"Doug Edwards (who went on to work for CBS) was then on the WSB news staff and was on duty in the news room. The message came across, the bulletin. And I happened to be in the newsroom with him," Ellis recalled.

Jeanette Winslett remembered as well. "I was at my mother's house. And she began to cry because she knew her boys was going to have to be in the service.  She couldn't stand for her boys to be away from home."

Gilbert Baker was on active duty with the 128th Observation Squadron based at middle Georgia.

"Maybe I ought not to tell this, but we were in  a theater in Atlanta. We were supposed to be in Fort Benning."

Baker said he and his buddies were back in camp by next morning. The 128th would deploy to Louisiana and spend 1942 flying anti-submarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico.

After the attack, Winslett said she and her husband decided to spend Christmas savings on a defense bond  rather than toys for their young daughter. The bond purchase turned into a photo-op. They dressed their daughter in a soldier outfit borrowed from the local Kress department store. Her photo appeared in an Atlanta newspaper.

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