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September 2002

Days of Infamy

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Getting the News

The role of the media, then and now.

On December 7th, 1941, news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor came in a slow trickle. The pictures came later. What mattered was the attack's meaning: American entry into a world war.

By contrast, on September 11th, 2001, the nation's TV screens deluged Americans with fresh, even live images of the terrorist attacks and the destruction they caused. Those visual images helped to spark a wave of emotion.

Dec 7, 1941 CBS Evening News: "The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by air, President Roosevelt has just announced. The attack also was made on all naval and military activities on the principal island of Oahu. We take you now to Washington."

Unidentified newscaster: "The details are not available. They will be in a few minutes…."

Newspaper Boy: "Japs take the Philippines tonight!"

Alan Lomax: "What is your name?" Norman Weissman: "Norman Weissman." Lomax: "Do you live in Washington?" Weissman: "Yes, I live in Washington." Lomax: "How did you feel about, when you first heard about the Japanese war?" Weissman: "Well, uh, I felt…I'll be called into the draft pretty soon. I'm eligible, I'm in the 1-A classification and it hit me pretty bad. I wasn't expecting it so soon."

Arnold Fenanka: "Well, I was surprised that it was so sudden. I think Japan has an awful lot to lose by doing such a thing." Lomax: "Are you eligible for the draft too?" Fenanka: "Yes, I'm in the July draft." Lomax: "In the July." Fenanka: "That's right. I expect to be called any week now."

Lomax: "Are you the lady friend?"
Fenanka: "No, she's my friend, though."
Lomax: "What is your name?"
Dorothy Cotner: "Dorothy Cotner."
Lomax: "How did you feel when you first heard the news of the Japanese attack?"
Cotner : "Well, it really surprised me."
Lomax: "What do you think the job is now of the United States?"
Cotner: "Well, I haven't heard much—I mean I haven't read the papers much and I haven't heard it over the radio. But they have signed, I mean there is a war, isn't there?"
Lomax: "That's right. Sure is, as of 12:30 today."

Pete Seeger: "My name is Pete Seeger. I've made a living for 60 years or more singing old songs and new songs. It was Sunday here. Woody Guthrie, he and I and Lee Hays, we were having a hootenanny. And in the middle of it, somebody burst in saying, 'Hey, the Japs have bombed Pearl Harbor.' I didn't even know where Pearl Harbor was. He said, 'Don't you know? It's the big navy base in Hawaii.' Ah-ha. We were at war, finally. We could see it coming but now there was no turning back. Finally, finally the pressure of the American nation was going to be put into fighting Hitlerism."

Paul Houston: "This is Paul L. Houston, president of the Yellow Cab Company of Pittsburgh. Everyone I talk to seems to feel that the old world we lived in before December 7th, 1941, has passed out of existence. And we are in a whole new universe."

Helen Thomas: "My name is Helen Thomas, and I'm a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. I worked for UPI for more then 50 years. I was home in Detroit on December 7th. I was just a schoolgirl. It was a tremendous shock. At the same time it was not on the mainland here, and so still had the sense of being remote, but not really remote because every family felt it at that time. The draft had been going on since 1940, and there was the big, big debate going on in the country; the country was really split in terms of those who thought we ought to intervene in the war in Europe against Hitler, and those who thought we ought to stay out, still feeling the burn of World War I, which was 'the war to end all wars.'"

James Terrell: "I am Dr. James J. Terrell of Dallas, Texas. After I realized that the news was true, then the next realization was that I personally was at war. Not the country was at war, but that I was at war. That everything that I had and all that I could do should be devoted to the cause of winning the war."

Russell Baker: "My name is Russell Baker, I've been a journalist for about 50 years. I wrote a column for the Times for 35 or 40 years. Somebody yelled at me, 'They've attacked Pearl Harbor,' or something. It didn't mean much to me at that moment. I had a streetcar ride all the way from West Baltimore Street and Gilmore and there was no discussion of it on the streetcar. Now of course, everybody would have known it instantly. They'd be on cell phones, radios, Walkmans. But until I got to Irvington and got off the streetcar, I didn't know it had happened. I learned from word of mouth, somebody shouting at me in the street. Nobody told you what it meant. There were no anchors."

Charles Gibson, ABC News: "ABC's Peter Jennings is at the anchor desk uptown here in New York and is now in position. Peter, I suspect you are looking at exactly the same pictures, well I know you're looking at the same pictures we are."

Baker: "It's another world as far as communications go. Nothing happens these days until the anchors arrive on the scene."

Peter Jennings, ABC News: "We are, Charlie. We're been watching it from the beginning. We'll be watching this for much of the day. There is chaos in New York at the moment. There have been not one, but two incidents, as Charlie and Diane have so ably reported so far, the second one coming at 9:03…."

Baker: "When you see the anchors appear in the studio and they take off their jackets, oh boy, something real has happened."

Dick Stahl, Davenport, Iowa: "Question number one. Where were you and what were you doing when you found out about the attack on September 11th?"

Anita Chawla, Takoma Park, Maryland: "I was actually on my way, I was on the beltway on my way to work."

Eric Wise, Naples American High School, Naples, Italy: "I was at football practice and the Vice Principal came out onto the field."

Cristina Page, New York City: "I live five blocks north of the World Trade Center and I heard the first plane go by my apartment."

Ann Hoog, American Folklife Center: "1941, there's a couple places where people say, 'Yeah I was listening to the radio.' That's basically it. But the September 11th personal experience stories, much more detail. You know, 'I was getting ready for work. I was in the shower and I came down and turned on the TV.' Almost everybody mentions the television. Everybody was just sort of bombarded with this information all day."

Sandra Perez, San Diego, California: "I think to me it never hit home. It looked like a replay of 'Matrix' or something."

Gabby Perez: "Yeah. 'Independence Day.'" Kimberly Yamada: "It looked like 'Armageddon' or…. You've seen it so many times on movies."

Russell Baker: "After a while it quickly becomes entertainment."

Yasmine Williams, Naples American High School, Naples, Italy: "After first it was, it wasn't real, it was like a movie, like 'Pearl Harbor', like a movie—you know the movie, 'Pearl Harbor?' I was like, it's just a movie, this isn't really going on."

Garrick Utley, CNN reporter: "Jim and Colleen back to you."

Colleen McEdwards, CNN news anchor: "Garrick Utley, thanks very much. Well it is time for Jonathan Mann and Ralitsa Vassileva to continue our coverage."

Jim Clancy, CNN news anchor: "We're going to leave you now with some pictures of the all too familiar scene, the horrific scene that was, Tuesday, September 11th."

CNN Newscast with sound of man reacting to plane crashing into the WTC: "Holy shit! Holy shit!"

Russell Baker: "It's like you take your new tweed jacket to the cleaner and they soak it in all this chemical stuff. It takes all the life out of the fabric. That's what media do to emotional events. The constant repetition takes all the life out of them."

CNN Newscast with sound of man reacting to plane crashing into the WTC: "Holy shit! Holy shit!"

Baker: "A great emotion such as was experienced by the country last September and lasted into the campaign in Afghanistan— new events have taken it away. New entertainments come up. You can't keep that kind of emotion alive against the competition, the entertainment aspect of media, at a time when the rest of the country doesn't feel really threatened."


Americans coming together, more or less.

After the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Americans joined in a spirit of patriotic mission. Sixty years later, following the September 11th attacks, many Americans flew flags and expressed intense feelings of national unity. But the differences in American patriotism post-Pearl Harbor and post-9/11 are as striking as the similarities.

Dick Stahl: "This tape is being made for the Library of Congress' 9/11 project. My name is Dick Stahl, I live in Davenport, Iowa, and today's date is Sunday, October 21st, 2001. I would like to read a poem that I wrote. The title of my poem is, After September 11th, 2001.

"My American heart's crowded these days
The red, white, and blue candles that host the flames of hope
The songs about Old Glory that wave with thunderous snaps of patriotism"

Anne Mikesell, Iowa: "I guess everyone takes it for granted, the protection and the security that we have here. And I know the United States is so much different than, like, all the other—many other countries around the world. It's given me more appreciation for how good we have it here."

Pete Seeger: "There's nothing like a crisis sometimes to draw out the best in people. I've seen more good things happening in America since 9/11 than almost in all my life. Even World War II didn't seem to pull the country together as well as this terrible and inexcusable terrorist act."

Aaron Hill, Baltimore, Maryland: "I'm all for war, pretty much. I think we need to strike back ten times harder than they struck us, that's how I feel. And if we're gonna be the bullies on the block, why not act like the bullies on the block? I mean, just do what we gotta do, like President Bush said, that's my whole feelings."

Roger Wilkins: "I'm Roger Wilkins and I teach history at George Mason University. I was a presidential appointee in the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson and an Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice. I don't really think that patriotism this time should be measured in how bellicose we can be and how colorfully we can describe the people that we are opposed to. One of the great aspects of our nation is that we can speak freely about public affairs. That is one of the great duties of a citizen. That kind of show of patriotism is what is required here. It's much more subtle, it's much more nuanced than the just, 'They hit us, now let's mobilize and go hit them' kind of patriotism that was called for in 1941 and '42."

Erica Johnson, Madison, Wisconsin: "I really feel privileged to live in the U.S. because we're so well off, but I'm not necessarily proud to be an American. I've traveled enough overseas to know that it's not exactly the best—the thing to be super proud of."

Russell Baker: "Americans are better educated now about the world scene then they were in 1940."

Baker: "There are people who know there are people out there with serious grievances against us, that hate us. Whereas in 1940, there was not much knowledge of the world. We had no notion of how the world looked at us."

Matthew Poundstone, Boulder, Colorado: "This needs to be a point of introspection, to kind of understand how this all came about and maybe how some of our own iniquities in the past have kind of blown up in our face. Maybe the chickens have come home to roost."

Adeel Mirza, Madison, Wisconsin: "I'm completely against what happened and I really wish to the bottom of my heart that it did not happen. But there's reasons why it happened and the United States should be aware of the fact that I think this might happen again so long as our policy toward the Middle East doesn't change."

Alan Lomax, Washington, DC, December 8, 1941: "We're just discussing how people feel about the war now that the emergency is declared, what people are saying, how you yourself feel about it."

Unidentified man, Washington, DC: "I think it's a wonderful thing because I'm behind Mr. Roosevelt one hundred percent."

Roger Wilkins: ""In late 1941, the world was at war and the events of December 7th propelled us into that war. And people were able to accept President Roosevelt when he said, 'Well, I was 'Dr. Fix the Economy', but now we've got a change and be 'Dr. Win the War.' Nobody disagreed with that because the effort was so massive. The threat was so great and so real."

Frank Tatrey, New York City: "My name is Frank Tatrey, and I do clerical work. I listened to President Roosevelt's speech, and I am behind him a hundred percent."

Interviewer, Nashville, Tennessee: "Mr. Russell, you have a son in the navy. What is your attitude towards the war?" Mr. Russell: "My attitude toward the war is 100 percent, see."

Helen Thomas: "I mean it was transforming. It was 'My country, may she always be right, but my country right or wrong.' The country was divided beforehand, people like Vandenberg from Michigan—the Senator—who was an isolationist and absolutely turned into an internationalist, and so many who really changed their political views. It was in that sense cataclysmic."

Russell Baker: "Lindbergh had been against going to war. Important people, great voices in the Senate. The Senate had resisted any armament for years; they were just not going to have it. And suddenly with Pearl Harbor, that collapsed and everybody was in the same boat. That was an extraordinary thing politically. Still, looking back on it. You know, you're never going to see that kind of unity again, I think, on a political issue as great as that."

Carol Keesling, Bloomington, Indiana: "Not until a few days later did the full impact of Pearl Harbor strike me. Lethargy has developed into patriotism and eagerness to help."

The 'Enemy' Among Us

Racism during World War II and the War on Terror.

In the months following the Pearl Harbor sneak attack, anger, fear, and racial prejudice contributed to the U.S. government's decision to round up Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast and put them in internment camps. Some observers say they've seen echoes of that intolerance since the terrorist attacks of September, 2001. But the voices of ordinary people recorded after Pearl Harbor, and after 9/11, suggest American racism is not what it used to be.

Chesterfield White, Nashville, Tennessee: "My name is Chesterfield White, I am just about to enter the armed forces of America. I am fighting to help preserve democracy and to beat the Axis power. The American way of life is so dear to me, and to every American."

Senator Daniel K. Inouye: "My name is Daniel K. Inouye. I'm a United States Senator from the state of Hawaii. On Dec. 7, 1941, it was a Sunday and I was getting ready to go to church with the rest of the family and listening to the radio at the same time and all of a sudden, the disc jockey began screaming into his mic, telling the listeners that Pearl Harbor was being bombed and devastated. So I grabbed hold of my father and we went out into the street, looked westward towards Pearl Harbor, and sure enough the skies were filled with puffs of anti-aircraft shells exploding. And suddenly three fighter planes flew overhead. And I knew what had happened. It was one of the darkest moments in my life. Because those men who were piloting the planes very likely looked like someone like me."

Broadcaster, Buffalo, New York: "That leads me to the next question. Do you hate the Japs?"

Unidentified woman: "No, I don't hate anyone."

Broadcaster: "Do you dislike the Japanese people?"

Woman: "I don't dislike the people, I dislike the way they do things so often."

Broadcaster: "Do you think that's a racial characteristic?"

Woman: "Yes."

Russell Baker: "It was a race war against Japan. The Japanese were so alien to us. Outside of California, most people, Americans, had never seen a Japanese. They were creatures from that other planet. Far away."

Roger Wilkins: "And I don't think that we kids in Harlem were much different. I don't think that we somehow, because we were not white, we felt any affinity for the Japanese. On the contrary, I think we thought they were fiends just the way the white people thought they were fiends. We might have been black, but we sure as heck were Americans and we were involved with American culture."

Interviewer, Madison, Wisconsin: "An unmarried secretary presents her opinion." Unidentified woman: "I must say that I think that we have been kicked into doing the thing that we should have done long, long ago, and everybody knows it: the matter of disciplining the unspeakable Jap. We have said, 'Now, Jappy, you be a nice boy and we'll give you a gun that you can shoot real bullets with.' And now, dear little Jappy has kicked teacher in the shins and something must be done about it. So I'm all for doing a complete and entire job."

Robert Hector, Crane, Missouri: "I do not think all Japanese are evil, because we have nothing against most of them. But it is said that the Japanese is treacherous, and as long as they are, we've got to watch our step."

Senator Inouye: "In February of 1942, the United States government, through the President, issued Executive Order 9066, in which the United States army was authorized to build 10 concentration camps to house Japanese citizens and otherwise living along the West coast of the United States. And there were about 120,000 of them. They were given 48 hours when time came to move. The only thing they could carry was what they carried with them. All other things had to be disposed somehow. It was not a happy time. It's not really possible to determine what it cost these people, but the cost to their lives, to their psyche, to their future, was much greater than the loss of material things."

John Keller, East Sullivan, Maine: "The date is Sept 27th, I'm John Keller and I'm interviewing Josh Pate. What do you think about the backlash against Arabic people in this country?" Josh Pate: "I don't think that that's right. It wasn't just because they were Arabic that they did it, it was people who did it just like us, it was just the color of their skin. It was just a certain type of person that tried to do it. It doesn't mean everyone's going to do it."

Laura Hawker, Rockford, Illinois: "Who do you believe is responsible for these attacks?" Zeno Vourliotis: "I guess Osama bin Laden is the one that - he's a camel-humper."

Roger Wilkins: "There were a few hate crimes early on…And I'm sure there were people who were pretty ugly. I'm sure there has been some, but I think there's been far less than we might have expected considering the nature of the murderous attacks that occurred on September 11th."

Russell Baker: "I used to think that Americans weren't really more tolerant, but they had just for social reasons learned how to suppress their prejudices, to not speak them out in the open. But I suspect now that Americans really are more tolerant. It's a much more tolerant society. And I think you see that now with the attitude towards the Islamic people now in the United States."

Roger Wilkins: "Yeah, I think we are a better —after all, we went through a civil rights movement, we went through a women's movement, a gay and lesbian movement, we went through deeper awareness of the needs and the oppression of Native Americans and Hispanic-Americans. So all of that has made us a more mature people than we were back in 1941."

Anita Chawla: "I'm Anita Chawla. I'm originally from, well, my family's from India, and I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and now I live in Takoma Park, Maryland. I've become much more self-conscious and aware of being a minority. My mother lives with us and I've explained to her what I can has happened and encouraged her not to wear her salwar khammeez, her Indian clothes, outside when she goes out. Sometimes I feel people looking at me and I'm not sure why."

President George W. Bush: "We're in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith."

Senator Inouye: "In the case of 9/11, within a week after that, the President of the United States issued a statement assuring the people that this was a war against terrorists and not against any group of people. He specifically said it's not against the Muslims. Now, that's a vast difference from the issuance of an executive order that authorized the army to build ten concentration camps."

Scott Lukas, South Lake Tahoe, California: "Do you feel that the terrorism and subsequent war have negatively impacted Arab Americans in this country?" Alexis Underwood: "The more that you learn about their religion, you find out that it doesn't have anything to do with what the extremists believe. It's just a really small group of them and they're pushing an image on Arabs that's not true."

Keith Brown, Oviedo, Florida: "This country has always been called a melting pot, I don't think it's a melting pot at all, I think it's a big bottle of oil and vinegar and water and there's all these different layers. But the funny thing is, you stir it up it blends pretty good. We're stirred up real well right now, we're blending up pretty nice. I mean I have my own prejudices and I'm willing to overlook them right now. But that's just the way everybody is. It's human nature."

Roger Wilkins: "They did a poll about whether it would be a good idea to do racial profiling against Arab-Americans and the people who were most in favor of doing that were African-Americans. People came to me and said, 'How do you explain that?' And I said, 'I don't have any deep explanation but that's a natural human instinct: better him than me.'"

Senator Inouye: "Let's face it, the most hated enemy we've ever had in our history were the Japanese. But today our two nations are on good terms. But one of the unfortunate curses of mankind has been hatred and racism, and I suppose in many of us, if not all of us, there is some tinge of that. And we should make an effort to make certain that that slight evil within all of us are kept down."


Two kinds of war, two sharply different calls to action.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor served as a starting gun for U.S. involvement in the Second World War. The 9/11 attacks prompted a war on terrorism. These two wars meant profoundly different things in the lives of ordinary Americans.

Broadcaster: "This is Buffalo, New York speaking, telling what we think of the Japanese aggression. These interviews are recorded for the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. through the facilities of WBEN, the Buffalo Evening News Station."

Tim Sullivan: "This is Tim Sullivan, age 35." Broadcaster: "And you feel, Mr. Sullivan, that it'll be a long war?" Tim Sullivan: "Yes, I do." Broadcaster: "How does your family feel about it—your wife, your home?" Sullivan: "Well, I suppose, the same as every other family that has children in it. We're all fearful of what may happen to the children if we should lose this war." Broadcaster: "And you recognize that as a distinct possibility." Tim Sullivan: "That's right. We're all out to protect our home and our loved ones."

John Henry Faulkner, Austin, Texas: "Well, Mrs. Whitaker, what do you think about the Japanese attack down in Hawaii, Sunday?" Mrs. Whitaker: "Well, it's nothing more than what could be expected. In other words it's inevitable. And I'm glad to say that I have one son in the Army, and that he's patriotic enough, and I have that Christian spirit in me to give our son for the cause and I'm glad I did it."

Russell Baker: "When you say 'war,' you immediately think of sacrifice. Maybe that's just my World War II experience. You may have to sacrifice your life. If not your life then there's going to be hardship. You're going to have to pay more taxes to support the thing. It's going to be hard to buy luxury goods. You couldn't buy tires in World War II because the Japanese had captured the rubber sources. Women couldn't buy silk stockings anymore."

Nota Scholl: "I am Nota Scholl, a secretary at Bloomington, Indiana. Of course we are taking a little more from our monthly paychecks for cosmetics, hose, food and so on. And we miss not being able to get the paper clips, bobby pins, and other commodities, which we have taken for granted. But these inconveniences are unimportant when compared with the hurt which comes when we watch our friends board trains for we know not what destination."

Unidentified man, Texas: "And every man around here is doing all he can to support this war effort by buying defense stamps and bonds. Well, we want you to know that."

Unidentified boy, Missouri: "We have gathered paper and tinfoil. We cannot all win a congressional medal for bravery, but we, the students of Crane, Missouri, would like to earn our 'V' for victory."

Unidentified girl, Crane, Missouri: "The commandeering of the railroads. My father is a railroader, and I'm sure that he and any of his other workers wouldn't mind for the railroads to be commandeered."

Frank Dobie, Texas: "I think the government had better withdraw all of this money they're paying to farmers and ranchmen, and put it into bombs, put it into dynamite, so we can blow daylight through more Germans and Japs. We don't need any subsidies anymore!"

Russell Baker: "So it was a time of hardship and sacrifice. And people who were not enduring hardship and sacrifice, or even complaining about it, were looked down on. We were all being good soldiers."

James Cavanaugh, New York City: "My name is James Cavanaugh, I'm 27 years old. I'm presently employed as a clerk at a college in New York. I'm not too eager to go. I had planned to use the next few years to advance myself economically and academically, but that seems to be out of the question. However, I feel I can't be too concerned with what happens to me as an individual. More important, I realize, are the things that our government and country stands for. So when it comes my turn, I'll go willingly."

John Henry Faulkner, Austin, Texas: "What do you think about war, Mrs. Curry— especially with Japan?"

Mrs. E.N. Curry: "Well, I think war is horrible with anybody, anytime. Now, that's just exactly what I think about war." Faulkner: "Would you be willing for your son to go across the ocean and fight?" Mrs. Curry: "Why, might as well to be. If they want him they'll take him anyway, so I might as well just be willing to it. Course there ain't nobody willing, but…." Faulkner: "Nobody wants for it to happen." Mrs. Curry: "No." Faulkner: "Time's got to come, it's got to come." Mrs. Curry: "Yeah."

NBC News/Tom Brokaw: "Good evening. On a day of remembrance and renewed resolve, this is the end of a long, difficult week but just the beginning of a long, difficult war to come."

Joshua Hove: "My name is Joshua Hove, I live in Solon, Iowa. I am fourteen years old." Jarred Tolander: "What do you think the U.S. should do now?" Hove: "A covert op, full-fledged war. Bombing first. And then tank and troop advancement into Afghanistan, and air backup and helicopter support."

Roger Wilkins: "This is not something that requires the full mobilization of American resources as WWII did. It is not a situation where there is broad scale, shared sacrifice as there was in World War II."

Russell Baker: "I don't see anybody these days who goes around with a sense of being at war. We have a professional army now. Citizens are not involved in this war. Every once in a while the president and his people remind us—at least they say that we're at war. But are we at war? It doesn't feel like war to me."

Erica Johnson, Madison, Wisconsin: "I don't think the world's gonna be affected, for very long at least. And I think the U.S. will forget about it for the most part. It'll be like a slightly longer version of the Oklahoma City bombing." Interviewer: "Has your life changed at all?" Johnson: "Not really. Not that I can think of."

Jeff Cowen, South Lake Tahoe, California: "There hasn't been a lick of change in people's lives right here. Small town, you know. Everyone can feel that we're not targets. There's not a draft on."

Helen Thomas: "In this so-called war, everyone is silent. You don't really feel that the spirit is there, the same sense of mission. It's individualistic, it's self-protection. Nothing wrong with that, we all want to live. But you don't have this same kind of binding the wounds and rallying together and so forth."

Sue Kloss, South Lake Tahoe, California: "My name is Sue Kloss, and I'm a biology instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College. What I think we should do is get the hell out of the Middle East completely, develop alternative energy sources, retrain workers in the oil industry, have the oil companies figure out how to make money from alternative energies. Do a good thing for the world environmentally."

President George W. Bush: "Americans are asking, what is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives and hug your children."

Elizabeth Spencer: "Well, I'm a writer, from Mississippi, originally. My name is Elizabeth Spencer. I know George Bush has said we're at war and we must be careful and observant and everything like that, but you know there's really nothing to do."

Russell Baker: "We were asked to keep traveling, go on vacation, spend more money to keep business booming and so forth. It was just the opposite of what you would expect to be asked to do in case of a real war. And on top of it all, you were to accept a generous tax cut."

Carol Barber, Fort Dodge, Iowa: "I bought flags for my home and office. And I wear a flag pin I had in my drawer a long time. I attached a key chain to my keys that says, 'I Love New York.' Those are the tangible things that I could do."

Jim Conboy, Cheboygan, Michigan: "I purchased enough ribbons for all the bank employees, a little over 70, within a few days after the tragedy. The local Wal-Mart store was making them up."

Billie Jo McAfee, Lake Tahoe, California: "I made a conscious effort to be healthier. I mean I bought vitamins (laughs). So that I could be stronger."

Helen Thomas: "You don't have a feeling that you're sharing. The last time everybody was in it. Once it happened, that was it; there were no ifs, ands, or buts. And there aren't any today. But there's also nothing that connects us. Maybe it's what our society has become, which is high-tech, robotic, dehumanized. We have a more modern world, more disaffected."

Elizabeth Spencer: "I'm rather proud of Americans. When we get aroused we can do tremendous things. But so far people haven't wanted to get that aroused. We don't feel threatened enough to make us shift into high gear. We're just kind of coasting."

Yvonne Hill, South Lake Tahoe, California: "It's change and change is always happening and it's just another facet of my life." Interviewer: "And the world?" Hill: "And the world and the times. But not necessarily—everyone says, 'The times that we live in'. Yeah, these are the times that I live in, but I also lived before and I'm going to live into the future and I just expect everything to keep changing. So it doesn't affect me too profoundly."

Elizabeth Spencer: "I think we're gradually returning, maybe dangerously so, to normal, among average people. But we probably wanted that after Pearl Harbor, but we knew we couldn't. So when we're deeply challenged, we'll what we have to do. But we don't want to do it."

Broadcaster, Buffalo, New York, December, 1941: "Mr. Sullivan. What do you think about the American people? Do you think we're ready for this?"
Sullivan: "Well..."
Broadcaster: "Your honest opinion."
Sullivan: "We've never been ready for anything. But we've always been able to meet it."
Broadcaster: "Do you think we'll meet this?"
Sullivan: "I do."