Pair of Northeast Florida women remember life on Oahu during Pearl Harbor attack

The alarming message on the radio seventy six years in the past interrupted a typical Sunday morning on the island of Oahu for Jacksonville’s Rosa B. Smith and Middleburg’s Ruby Girgis.

Smith was getting dressed to go train Sunday faculty when she heard the excitement of planes flying above her residence, and Girgis was consuming breakfast together with her household. Quickly they each noticed Japanese plane dropping bombs and smoke filling the sky above Pearl Harbor.

“I had the radio on like several teenager would have, and swiftly it went quiet,” Smith stated just lately from her residence in Empire Level.

She stated she’ll always remember the somber voice that adopted the silence or the warning that echoed by means of the audio system: “The island is underneath assault. The island is underneath assault,” the radio repeated.

Girgis stated her stepfather ordered everybody in the home to be quiet so they might take heed to the radio. The adults within the family spoke in involved tones, and shortly it was clear the Japanese have been concentrating on U.S. ships in close by Pearl Harbor.

“I might get scared as they have been speaking,” Girgis remembered. “I couldn’t perceive why the Japanese would do this. As a child you possibly can’t perceive that, it didn’t make sense.”

Smith was 19 and newly married to a lieutenant commander within the U.S. Coast Guard. Girgis was eleven dwelling together with her household within the shadows of Diamond Head, the dormant volcanic cone on the Southeast aspect of the island.

When her relations heard of the assaults on the radio, they went to the top of their road the place they might see the planes flying shut overhead. Girgis stated a number of the plane obtained so shut that she might see the pink round markings of the Japanese flag.

Smith’s house was even nearer to Pearl Harbor, and she or he stated one pilot flew so low that she might see he was sporting a leather-based helmet and goggles, grinning ear to ear.

“He seemed down and waved to me,” Smith stated.

That picture of a pilot glad to ship destruction is one thing that is still together with her to today.

She nonetheless has a shard of metallic from a Japanese aircraft discovered within the wreckage days after the assault. It’s a macabre souvenir from one of the crucial tragic days in U.S. historical past.


Island life was the one factor Girgis knew at that time, however Smith was simply getting used to dwelling in a tropical paradise.

She met her husband at church again in Wilmington, N.C., the place she grew up on a produce farm. Smith was the…

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