David Shearer was born in 1937 and lived in the town of New Brighton, PA throughout the war. He talks about his reaction to Pearl Harbor, his mother’s reaction to Pearl Harbor, and his Uncle Paul, who was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed.

 

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Transcript

Mother’s Reaction to Pearl Harbor

I came downstairs on a Sunday morning, and my mother was crying. And my dad was holding on to her. Of course, [I asked] “what’s the matter with mom?” And dad said, “the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor.” Well, that stuck with me all these years, because I had never seen my mother cry… Her brother, my Uncle Paul, was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, and, of course, she assumed the worst. He survived that, and he survived the war.

 

Uncle Paul after Pearl Harbor

Actually, he was a funny guy. He didn’t let anybody know he was dead or alive until almost the end of the war. (laughs) And his mother, my grandmother, lived in a town about 5 miles away from New Brighton – she lived in Beaver, PA. My sister happened to be visiting her and staying with her. Audrey, my sister, went and answered the door – someone was knocking on the door, and she went to see who it was. And there’s a man in uniform standing there, and he asks this little girl, “is this where Mrs. Wiley lives?” And it’s his mother. (laughs) Here was her son, and she hadn’t heard from him since 1941. (laughs.) There was no indication that he was missing in action or killed… I don’t think he was a writer. (laughs)

Did your mother try to contact him or find him?

Well, they were just always worried about him. He told us afterwards; he had been shipped from Pearl out into some island in the Pacific. And he and his group there spent almost the whole war in this island, defending it.