Aptos Times: December 15, 2021

Page 20

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Remembering Dec. 7, 1941

A

By Edita McQuary

day that will live in infamy” is how President Franklin Roosevelt described December 7, 1943 after 353 Japanese aircraft bombed the American military base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Eighteen ships were lost, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded. The next day, following this speech by the President, the U.S. Congress declared war on Japan. It has been 80 years since this event and there are no more local World War II veterans. However, sixteen people gathered to remember the event at breakfast at California Grill in Watsonville. They were Barry Jennings; Peter Telc; Brad Hubbard; Lt. Col Harry Wiggins and his wife, Clarice; Esther and Stan Jessee; Wayne and Jane Fort; Jane’s sister, Helen Bixler; Barbara A. Adamski; Marilyn Rivers; Bill McQuary; Bob Erbe; Ingrid Larsen and Frank Nigro. Retired Watsonville teacher Esther Jessee and Watsonville businessman Frank Nigro organized the event. Esther Jessee (age 4 aon that date) related how on that beautiful Sunday morning she and her 9-year old brother were walking to Sunday School when they saw an aircraft coming their way. They were both shocked to see the grinning face of the Japanese pilot and the symbol of the rising sun on the airplane as it swooped down toward them and continued on its bombing mission.

Among other recollections shared of their families’ military connections, was one by former Marine Wayne Fort. His father’s cousin was Cornelia Fort, the aviator and instructor as well as the second member of the WASPS (Women Airforce Service Pilots). On Dec. 7, she and her student pilot almost collided mid-air with a Japanese aircraft. They barely escaped and when upon landing, the Japanese pilot strafed their airplane but fortunately they were able to get away. Cornelia Fort was recognized for her aviation/piloting career in a recent PBS special. Ingrid Larsen, widow of a military man, told about her father, Erick Sorenson who was one of the founders of the informal annual get-together and how much it meant to her family. In 2019, her brother, also ex-military, and his son attended the event. There was no event in 2020 due to Covid-19. It was interesting to hear how everyone present had some connection to the military either by serving in it or having a relative that served in some capacity to aid the war effort. The greatest generation is now almost gone. These were the people, along with their European allies, who saved the world from a dictator and made the world a better place. It is fitting that they be remembered. n

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Photo Credit: Edita McQuary

Sixteen people gathered in Watsonville to remember Dec. 7, 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.


Articles inside

Improving County Cell Phone Coverage, By Zach Friend, Supervisor

6min
pages 30-32

Community Calendar • Arts & Entertainment – Pages 28

7min
page 29

A Christmas Carol Revisited, By Ron Kustek

21min
pages 25-28

Dominican to Boost Physician Training with Morehouse Med School

2min
page 23

Supporters Want Farmland Protection on 2022 Ballot

2min
page 22

Wilder Ranch Lemon Prints, from the Wilder Ranch Cookbook

2min
page 21

Dohna Lee Dunderdale Day

2min
page 18

Remembering Dec. 7, 1941, By Edita McQuary

3min
page 20

Wilburn to head Santa Cruz Public Libraries, By Jondi Gumz

3min
page 19

Amesti Elementary Students Unveil Mural

3min
pages 16-17

College Lake Water Diversion Granted

2min
page 15

Tiny Homes Rules: Target Date: Summer 2022, By Jondi Gumz

3min
page 14

Another Covid-19 Death: Why Health Officials Are Urging People To

6min
page 7

Championship Bodybuilder Dave Draper: Treasure Your Health

4min
page 10

Tales of the Hunger Heroes

2min
pages 5-6

Water Purification Center Groundbreaking: Soquel Creek Water District

5min
pages 11-12

Watsonville Hospital’s Bankruptcy Filing, By Jondi Gumz

5min
page 9

Rail Trail Aptos: EIR Complete in 2023

4min
page 8
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