The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


December 7, 2013

Pearl Harbor anniversary stirs childhood memories

- — As a kid in the 1950s, every Dec. 7 was marked by big headlines in newspapers and reports on radio — and television for people who actually had one. It was discussed in school classes.

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of that attack that changed the course of America and lives of many families as well. It forced the United States into the war earlier than expected and helped turn the tide for the Allies.

Many men from the Mercer County area joined the service and went to war. Unfortunately, some didn’t make it home.

My dad served in the U.S. Navy aboard an LST. I remember he and his friends like the late Mike Gavala and others sitting in our living room and talking about war stories, while I listened intently from another room.

Former Herald Editor Wally Wachter was stationed at Pearl Harbor when the attack came. He told tales of that “Day of Infamy” and wrote stories about the incident.

Many people still visit Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, the battleship that was sunk there. I remember sitting at the Old Tymer Bar years ago in Sharon with the late Bill Dear, president of Cowan & Dear Co.

He told me that he was a diver serving at Pearl Harbor and went down to try and help sailors in the Arizona. He said he could hear the sailors in the ship pounding on the hull, but the metal was so thick there was no way to get to them.

He said it haunted him his entire life and he often could not sleep at night because of it.

I’m sure there were many other tales similar to Bill’s.

The country has had many wars since World War II and as the years pass, we tend to push Pearl Harbor Day aside. The vast majority of people who were at Pearl Harbor that day or even served in World War II have passed away.

Every Dec. 7, I think about it. But eventually for everyone it will sink into history, as events like the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center takes its place in the memories of us all.

• Traditionally, gas is cheaper in Ohio than Pennsylvania and since we live so close to the Buckeye State, some people venture to Hubbard or Brookfield to purchase gas for their cars.

Soon it may be large caravans heading across the border.

When the Pennsylvania new transportation law goes into effect Jan. 1, we will see enormous jumps on the price of gas in the Keystone State. While the actual increase isn’t certain, some project it will be as much as 20 cents a gallon.

It there is a wide disparity, it will certainly make Pennsylvanians who border other states take a short trip to get gas. And it can’t help but cut down on profits for stations in the Shenango Valley.

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for the Opinion Page. He can be reached at

Text Only
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Published Magazines