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Tony Santos Was At Pearl Harbor On Dec. 7, 1941

The former mayor was a boy on that fateful Sunday that still lives in infamy.

Tony Santos Was At Pearl Harbor On Dec. 7, 1941 Tony Santos Was At Pearl Harbor On Dec. 7, 1941


(Editor's note: This guest column was written by former Mayor Tony Santos.)

Stories must always be preserved and shared; with this in mind, I would like to share my memories of what FDR called "a date which will live in infamy."

On December 7, 1941, I lived at 2012 Eluwene St., in Honolulu. We lived some three doors from our church, St. Anthony’s.  

My mother woke me early that day and sent me to Church alone. We were about 5 miles or so from Pearl Harbor; while in church, I heard what I thought were firecrackers; I noted people looking at each other trying to figure out where the sounds were coming from. We later learned that they came from Pearl Harbor.

As mass progressed, a man walked up to the priest, Father Herbert, and whispered in his ear; the priest then stopped saying mass and announced that we were under attack by an unknown force and we should go home and stay there.

On my way home, I saw the Japanese planes, emblazoned with the rising sun, flying over us to perform their run into Pearl.

Instead of going home, I stopped at our neighbor’s house, the Sonadas, to watch the planes fly on their runs into Pearl Harbor. There were radios on all over the area and the announcer was saying “this is the real McCoy, we are under attack, stay in your house."

This was America's entry into the Second World War. As a kid, I did not know what the ramifications were, but my life would soon change forever.

The military immediately instituted a curfew and placed the islands under martial law. For the next couple of years we kids had to take gas masks to school every day. We did this until we moved to Californiai 1943.

After the war, we returned to Hawaii as declared “war refugees.” Good old Uncle Sam paid our way home; but we returned to California in 1947 and I have been here ever since. 

Do you have a recollection or photo of Pearl Harbor to share?

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