After the 9/11 attacks, The Greensboro (NC) News
and Record" asked some readers to compare their experience of
Pearl Harbor and its aftermath and the lessons they had learned. Lib
Connerís response appeared Sunday, Dec. 2, 2001. P. H1.
December 7, 1941
Our lives were instantly changed
When Dec. 7, 1941, struck, we had been married just 16 months. There was a great similarity in the following days then and Sept. 11 - both times there was an almost unanimous and outspoken agreement that a fight was necessary. But one difference is enormous. Our lives on Dec. 7 were instantly changed. We knew at once that my husband, Bob, would have to go into service soon, so a search began to determine in which branch he could make the most contribution. And the home front changed, too. Instead of being urged to spend and to live normal lives, our "sacrifices" were called for - demanded.
Gas was rationed (was this trip necessary?), so were sugar and shoes. We got stamps for all those, I think, and all food was rationed. We had little red and blue discs, smaller than a penny. Meat was very scarce, and you could go to the store and find almost anything missing, because transportation had been switched to the war effort. We were called upon to buy war bonds and to help sell them, to fold bandages, and to take classes in preparing food for groups in case of evacuations. The men guarded the City Lake in case an attempt was made at poisoning it or blowing up the dam. I donít remember the exact timing of all these, and I think some of it was "busy work," but it helped to keep us from forgetting for a moment that we were at war.
I laughed when I first heard the expression "Greatest Generation." We did what we had to do, and I thought any generation would. But now we hear "when are we going to win?" after only two months at war. In January 1942, we were still moving backward in the Pacific, and we knew full well we were in for a long, long haul.
I learned from living through the war that we could survive and win with everyone pulling their full weight, with little complaint.
But that war we knew how to fight and what was needed. This one, with caves and tunnels and an uncertain enemy, hardly seems like the same experience. Itís too soon to answer questions about it. The writer lives in High Point. Her husband Bob Conner served valiantly in the 93rd Seabees.