In Tulsa, Oklahoma,  Maxine Beatty stared through the living room window admiring the sunlight as it glittered across the carpet of snow. Arriving home from church, Bertha and Nanny could be heard chattering in the kitchen as they cooked Sunday dinner. And the aroma of freshly baked yeast rolls floated from room to room, wrapping around everyone who came near.

A few miles down the road, Paul Capps and his father pulled up the hood of their 1935 Dodge, checking the plugs, then the valves. Moving on to the oil stick, Paul's dad reached for the red rag dangling from his back pant pocket. "Plenty of oil, son. I reckon it might be the radiator." Both men continued their inspection, diligently scrutinizing every part of the engine until each piece was thoroughly examined.

Farther up the road, at the Adair's house, Hazel and her husband "Speedy" unwrapped the newspaper and layed it across the living room coffee table for a lazy Sunday afternoon read. The squeak of the front door caught the attention of both and their son's voice boomed through the house: "Hey mom and dad, I want to tell you about a swell girl I just met!"

The crisp winter wind whipped its tail around the corners of the Jones' white clapboard house in Hawthorne, New Jersey. Clinton Jones and his wife unbuttoned their coats as they entered their front door, shivering from the brisk wind. Retiring from a long afternoon at the hospital visiting their elderly neighbor, Nellie remarked: "Poor old dear. I don't expect her to last much longer."

And then Nellie turned the knob of the radio to listen to the day's news.

As did the Adairs and the Capps and the Beatties.

The four families went about their usual Sunday routines. The day moved as it always had. The sun rose, the clock ticked, the coffee percolated. The sound of the car engines rumbled across the city roads and the thud of the morning newspapers were heard as they slapped the porches of houses from New Jersey to Oklahoma.

And across the Pacific Ocean, a plane with a round red circle on its tail, swooped down from the warm Hawaiian morning sky, dropping an unexpected Sunday Surprise:

A bomb that would be followed by another and another and another...
Seventy years ago on the 7th of December 1941, our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles woke to a usual Sunday morning. But what was to be an ordinary day, ended in the extraordinary. Plans changed, lives were altered and what started as the familiar, ended with the most frightening of events.

We all know the story...but do we?

Be the biographer of your families' Pearl Harbor story. Learn and write where your parents were living; what their morning was like: where they were standing the moment they heard a strange and fear-provoking announcement from their radio.

It was their history. And as the world was altered on that December day seventy years ago, it became our history too.

To learn more on the events of Pearl Harbor, go to And to follow a week long history tour on the seventieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, go to

And to learn more on the events of your own Pearl Harbor history, go to your family elders to pen their story. So it will not be left to the limitless boundaries of your imagination; as it has with mine.
Keep searching for answers,

(Read about Marine Corporal E.C Nightingale's Pearl Harbor experience aboard the Arizona at


12/11/2011 7:55am


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