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Lodi's response to Pearl Harbor recalled

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Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 10:00 pm

Nearly 60 years ago, Lodians were faced with the same solemn sense of remembrance felt today as we observe the one-year anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, and of the deadly Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii have been compared to some extent. Both events were surprise attacks that shocked the nation. Thousands were killed in each attack. There were 3,037 killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, and there were 2,348 killed at Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war and entered World War II. After Sept. 11, President George W. Bush vowed to strike back at terrorists, and he launched a military attack in Afghanistan beginning a "different kind of war" that continues today.

In the last few weeks, people have struggled with finding an appropriate way to observe the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Since both events have been compared, the way they are remembered may also be of interest. This is how Lodi observed the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

In 1942, America was involved in a full-fledged war that reached into nearly every home. Throughout the year, Lodi families were torn apart by young men going off to war and by young women going to work in Bay Area shipyards. Lodi families searched their basements and yards for scrap metal and rubber to donate to the war effort. Lodi families registered for ration cards that limited the amount of gasoline, sugar and other grocery items they could buy. And Lodians read the newspapers describing the terrible battles and losses in Bataan, the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal in the South Pacific.

In late November, Lodi Mayor Clifford Bull resigned so he could join the army. California wineries announced they would make industrial alcohol from wine for the war effort. The list of Lodians on the "American War Heroes" sign displayed in M. Newfield & Son's store window grew, and the painted thermometer indicating the amount of war bonds sold in Lodi grew.

On Saturday, Nov. 21, Lodians paid $3,600 in war stamps and war bonds to see the two-man Japanese submarine that had been captured near Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. The 81-foot-long submarine, mounted on a special trailer, was on a national tour to stimulate Navy recruiting and war bond sales. For four hours that Saturday night, Lodians paid 50 cents each to look through special portholes cut into the submarine during a war savings bond rally on West Pine Street.

But there were no newspaper articles in November announcing public ceremonies to observe the first anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Instead, Lodi observed the one-year anniversary very quietly and doing what was then the most citizens could do - support the war effort by buying bonds.

In the Dec. 5, 1942, edition, Lodi News-Sentinel, columnist Arthur Marquardt urged Lodians to buy the bonds that would be specially marked "Remember Pearl Harbor" at the local banks, post office or the Victory War Bond Booth at School and Pine streets.

"… Monday (the first anniversary of the attack) we can give tangible proof of our loyalty, our patriotism, our devotion to those who have given of the last ounce of their devotion that we may be proud in our freedom of being free men and women," he wrote. "We can pause, here in Lodi, at 11:25 a.m. in silent, reverent tribute to the men who fell at Pearl Harbor. And then, we, each and every one of us, can purchase a War Bond so there will be no more Pearl Harbors to be avenged."

Lodians answered his call. On Dec. 7, 1942, proclaimed "Remember Pearl Harbor" Day, Lodians shattered all previous one-day records for war bond sales. They bought $57,200 in war bonds and war savings stamps, an amount that was roughly equal to half of an average month's quota. In addition, Lodians bought and proudly wore about 1,500 war stamp boutonnieres and corsages made by local women's defense service organizations.

"More tangibly than any written or spoken words that simple action of faith in our government, belief in the justice of our arms, confidence in the victory of our men will prove we have indeed Remembered Pearl Harbor," Marquardt wrote.

Comments about this story? Send mail to the News-Sentinel newsroom.


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