The Vineyard was a frightening place for a young girl to be during World War II, but exciting too. Servicemen were walking the streets before their deployment to Europe. Navy and Army pilots conducting training exercises overhead occasionally came crashing into the ocean. And there were the constant rumors of enemy spies and submarines along the Island’s shores.


Fifty years after the sinking of the United States naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, a group of Island veterans and their supporters gathered Dec. 7 in Oak Bluffs for breakfast to remember the day and honor their countrymen who lost their lives in this and other battles of World War II.

Every parking spot at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on Towanicut avenue was filled at 9 a.m.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, is a landmark in the life of this nation, by which we judge where we are and where we were. The moment the news came over the radio that Sunday afternoon, it caught a nation in one instant like some great group photograph.

Fifty years have passed, and now we look back to pay homage to those who offered their lives and energies to fight fascism and imperialism, and to re-examine a symbolic moment in history.


There is not a particle of doubt that Vineyarders who were alive and understanding of world events on Dec. 7. 1941 found themselves yes­terday, on the twentieth anniversary of that day, remembering all sorts of circumstances. The sunny, rather brisk weather of that fateful Sunday is as clear as was the sunlight then.


As the planes swooped and roared past the windows of his home, the young Army officer, seeing the big red suns which marked them - for the great power which sent them on their errand still thought then that the sun was rising on the land it ruled - cried out: “It’s Japan! It’s war!”


One of the victims of the Japanese surprise attack upon the Philippines on Dec. 7 was John H. Campbell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred P. Campbell of New Britain and Oak Bluffs. He had spent all of his summers at Oak Bluffs, except that of 1941, and he had many friends in the town and among the summer colony. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1940, and would soon have qualified as a pilot after training in the fundamentals of aviation.