by JENNIE LAU
On December 7, 1941, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the attack on Pearl Harbor began, triggering America’s involvement in World War II. Many children who lived through this war zone made it out alive, a class photo was taken from Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Waikiki shows how bizarre the childhoods were back then. The photo showed each student carrying a gas mask emphasising how contagious and influential the war was.
Now three of the former students, who are now in their mid-80s, reconnected and recollected on their childhood 75 years ago during the second World War. Joan Martin Rodby, Florence Seto, and Emma Veary were classmates that survived the war zone together each bringing a different perspective during the war.
Florence Seto is a Japanese-American who lived in continuous fear of her family being taken at any moment. On the day of the attack on Oahu on December 7, Seto clearly remembers a neighbor shrieking about Japanese’s epithet; she recalls running home to tell what she had heard. Additionally, Seto’s families encountered difficulties due to the war and the discrimination towards the Japanese. Their friends who reside in the same neighborhood reported them because of fear. Fortunately, due to Seto’s father’s connection with one of the company’s manager it spared their family from being deported.
On the very same day, the three former classmates recall Franklin D. Roosevelt’s declaration of war on Japan. After a month, Rodby remembers her and her classmates were given glass masks and also being tested on their efficiency to put them on. Glass masks were worn everyday during school. Furthermore, Veary’s father was sent to a rescue mission to aid soldiers in battle. Veary’s family had their part in helping people by sharing their food and giving shelters to those in need. As Seto had said, “Everyone did their part.”