It was 7:55 a.m., Dec 7, 1941 and Anderson and some friends had just left church and were thinking about going to the PX for breakfast.
Suddenly planes appeared overhead, flying low and loud. The men didn't pay much attention at first.His service to our country does not go unnoticed. Anderson wears his "Pearl Harbor Survivor" hat while out in his community and he's often approached by grateful people, rightly so, but we shouldn't let this day pass by without recognizing the sacrifice and service of an industry that has been maligned quite a bit lately - the Big 3. The Detroit News stepped up and recognized them in an editorial today: Remember the Arsenal of Democracy
"We thought it was probably Navy maneuvers," said Anderson, then 20.
Then they noticed "big red suns" painted on the planes' wingtips: The Rising Sun emblem of Japan.
"I said, 'Oh, hell,'" Anderson said. "Or probably something worse."
Anderson counts himself lucky to have survived the first foreign attack on U.S. soil, which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 and pulled America into the second World War -- 67 years ago today.
We note with considerable irony that today, as the fate of Detroit's automakers rests in the hands of Congress, the nation marks the 67th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.I hope Congress also remembers the survivors of WWII, who came home after the war and worked in factories across the country to build a better future for their children and grandchildren. Unionization grew to one-third of the workforce, every income group grew (incomes grew fastest for the lowest-income Americans) and most middle-class Americans had good health care and could look forward to a secure retirement.
In the days after that attack, as the nation geared up for war, the federal government turned to Detroit's automotive industry and asked it to convert its factories to produce military hardware.
In a matter of weeks, Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and the other automakers of the time were churning out tanks, planes, Jeeps and other machinery of war. They stopped making passenger cars and turned their full energies toward defending the nation, and agreed to only a minimal profit for their work.
When America's survival was on the line, Detroit didn't ask questions; it pitched in with all its industrial might to save the country. The Big Three's survival is now on the line. We hope Congress remembers the sacrifice the auto industry has made for America and considers carefully whether it would ever want to go into a war of that magnitude again without the Arsenal of Democracy.
The "Greatest Generation" fought in WWII because it was the right thing to do, and they came home and fought for shared prosperity and better living standards for everyone because that was the right thing to do too. As Americans, we honor them by fighting to protect what they worked so hard to give our country.