In his 1953 book, "Don't Call it Frisco" from a piece called, 'On a Pearl Harbor Anniversary' Herb Caen recalls being wakened by a phone call from a girl in the apartment below his, "I know you're an Orson Wells fan. Well he's got a program on the air right now - something about a bombing in Pearl Harbor. Boy it is realistic...Better than his man from Mars stuff. I turned on the radio, but it wasn't Orson Welles. It was The News. The news that that nobody wanted to hear. The story that couldn't happen to us, in our snug, smug, secure little world. The radio bulletin that couldn't be turned off, the newspaper headline that was bigger and blacker than reality - too big to comprehend. In the Sunday morning stillness, a hundred thousand phones were ringing in San Francisco, each peal of the bell awakening the city from the long, peaceful sleep it would never know again." Later in this account Caen mentions the reaction of the town, the disbelief and confusion, the bigotry and fear, “It was growing in the open now-the poison of hatred-...”
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced the beginning of America's participation in World War II on the radio, in an unforgettable broadcast. "... December 7, 1941, a date which will live infamy, United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked..."
The late, legendary columnist Herb Caen remembered how San Franciscans reacted to the news. "As I recall it was one of the most beautiful days in the history of this city ... warm, a warm December day, clear, and, like lemmings, everybody jumped in their cars and got together (at) Ocean Beach. And there were thousands of people standing out there at the beach looking over toward Pearl Harbor as though we could see anything. We were just drawn to the ocean, we had to go out there and look."
Former California governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown recalled those uneasy times. "You have to realize they bombed Pearl Harbor so we thought that there would be battleships coming over here and airplane carriers and all of our ships were destroyed over there at Pearl Harbor. And we were afraid that the next bombing would be S.F. or Los Angeles. It was a very frightening period. We weren't mobilized. We weren't ready for the war in any shape, form, or manner." ----- A similar query was posed (by guess who?) on the WNP message board last year after PBS broadcast the Ken Burns documentary, “The War” to which a number of postings were submitted. For readers who haven’t browsed that thread it can be found here: http://www.outsidelands.org/cgi-bin/mboard/stories2/thread.cgi?1124,0#msgtitle