Ellicott McConnell was a freshman in college when he heard the news about Pearl Harbor. He volunteered for the army after the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor.
Reactions to Pearl Harbor
My first year in college was the year of Pearl Harbor. I was a freshman. I had skipped a grade so I was younger than anyone else. I was out walking with a friend over the weekend. We came back, and my mother bowed her head out the door looking for me, saying, “They bombed Pearl Harbor!” And we asked the same question most people did, “Where the hell is Pearl Harbor?” Now it’s a byword, but we didn’t know where it was…
Everyone was baffled. You know, “Why would the Japanese [do that], are they out of their minds?” And we had no idea for a long time afterwards how much damage was done. We knew that the Arizona had been blown up but we had no concept of the extent the damage that was done.