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Tell us your story: Remembering Pearl Harbor

Barbara Schmidt • Dec 7, 2018 at 10:43 AM

Editor’s Note: Barbara Schmidt, 86, was just 9 years old when the United States entered World War II. She has vivid memories of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, and each year she wears a Remember Pearl Harbor pin on Dec. 7. Her brother Bill died in the Battle for Cebu City. He was awarded a Purple Heart and the Silver Star.

By Barbara Schmidt

When the U.S. entered World War II I was a pretty young girl not more than 9 years old. I was sitting in a corner of our couch. I was confused and very afraid when I heard the announcement of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I envisioned a bull that had been penned up and had knocked down the barrier and escaped. I was worried that the bull would come charging into the room any minute; it was something big and fierce and unknown. For whatever reason, these were the thoughts of my 9-year-old mind. That was Dec. 7, 1941. Ever after to be known as Pearl Harbor Day.

My oldest brother, William Phalen, was quick to enlist in the U.S. Army. He served in the infantry in the Philippines. We would receive an occasional letter from him which would be altered from the normal paper page to a microfilm reproduction. It was not unusual to find words blacked out as a result of censorship.

Along with a letter, one day my mother received this "Remember Pearl Harbor " pin. The pin came to me after my mother's passing. I have treasured it ever since. I bring it out and wear it every Dec. 7.

I will always cherish it in memory of my brother Bill. He died a hero in the battle of Cebu. He was awarded a Purple Heart and the Silver Star. I had five brothers, all who served in the military. One in the Air Force, one in the Navy and three in the U.S. Army.

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