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A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

‘The island is under attack. Enemy unknown. Civilians take cover. All servicemen report to your units.’” Those were the words 21 year-old military wife Norma Davis heard when the attack on Pearl Harbor began. I can't imagine what it would be like knowing that my husband and his comrades were under intense attack, even seeing the bombers fly overhead. Being so close, yet utterly powerless to do anything.

We often hear stories of those who were serving at Pearl Harbor, and rightly so, but we seldom hear about what their families were experiencing during the attack and its aftermath. That's why I was fascinated with Norma Davis' story.

While George W. Davis watched the Japanese fighter planes fly overhead, his 21-year-old wife Norma Davis was hunkered inside their one-bedroom apartment in Kaimuki, about 30 miles east of Pearl Harbor, with their 9-month-old son George D. Davis.

“I had just gotten up to heat a bottle of milk for the baby and turned on the radio to listen to some music,” Norma Davis recalled. “I heard: ‘The island is under attack. Enemy unknown. Civilians take cover. All servicemen report to your units.’”

Norma Davis was far enough away that she didn’t have to take cover, but she stayed inside. She remembers looking out a window and seeing the Japanese planes. She could hear the attack and feel the ground vibrating, but could only see smoke coming from Pearl Harbor.

Christmas Day, 1941 would not be celebrated in the usual manner for Norma and hundreds of other military families.
She, along with hundreds of other military wives and family members, were evacuated from the island on Christmas Day.

“That meant I had to lock the door, take the baby and one suitcase,” she said.

With her husband’s $300 reenlistment bonus pinned to the inside of her clothing, Norma Davis shared a bunk with her infant son inside a cabin on the passenger liner. Most of the focus during the trip was caring for the children, Norma Davis said.

Read the rest of Norma's story here.

Today we remember that fateful day. We pause to pay tribute to all who were injured or killed. And we celebrate the strength and courage of our service members, and their families.

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