“What tragic, criminal, treacherous, appalling changes have come to this great country of ours since we went to press last week,” read a front-page story in the Park Record on December 11, 1941.
The Park Record did not publish on December 7 or 8, so the story was less reactionary than others published sooner. Rather than a headline reading “Pearl Harbor Attacked!” on December 7 or “U.S. Enters World War Two” on December 8, the Park Record was more reflective, with “World War No. Two Declared Sunday Last.” Since the paper was not going to press during the greatest commotion, the story gave updates on the news of the four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
They reported on President Roosevelt addressing the nation, reactions from other western communities, the Congress of Industrial Organizations and United Mine Workers of America vocalizing their support in a war effort, and Congress meeting in a special session to declare war.
It was this last point that particularly interested the Park Record. The rest of the story was focused on factual updates. But the declaration of war was one vote shy of unanimous – a fact which perturbed the editor, leading to several sentences devoted to a lowly opinion of Senator from Montana Jeannette Rankin. Senator Rankin, a pacifist, was the sole member of Congress to vote no for going to war against Japan. The Park Record was so offended, it told readers that Ranking should be given a “swift kick” out of office by her constituents.
The December 11 issue of the paper held other stories and updates for Parkites. One story outlined the likely conscription of men aged 28 or older. Men 21 to 27 were already on call. The local draft board clerk for Summit County was instructed to organize and reclassify all papers for men meeting the criteria.
Some Parkites had already been drafted into service. Harold Hurlburt, a Navy veteran, was recalled for duty by the time of publication. One recruiting officer for the Coast Guard posted an ad in the Park Record, notifying married men that they were now allowed to enlist with permission from their wives.
Local groups were already gearing up for the home front effort as well. The American Legion advertised to help get Summit County’s portion of the Red Cross Relief Fund up and running. They also gave notice for a plan to collect addresses for all the Summit County men sent off to war in order to send them candy at Christmastime.
Parkite Douglas Firth was a survivor of the attack while serving in the Coast Guard, recounting to family later that “horrors of that terrible sneaking assault will remain a vivid memory and nightmare to him if he lives a thousand years.” Douglas’ story was featured in a Way We Were article last year. Another Parkite, Steven Marinic, perished on the USS Arizona during the attack. His story was featured a couple of years ago.
One future Parkite was also at Pearl Harbor that day. Town photographer Kendall Webb was leading a Boy Scout expedition when the attack started, later realizing Japanese planes likely shot at the bus of scouts he was with. His troop and others were commended for acting in a helpful manner after the initial chaos of the attack.
Tomorrow is the 82nd anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Park City Museum and Swaner Preserve & EcoCenter are co-hosting a lecture on the Preserve’s history and restoration work on December 6 from 5-6 p.m., given by Hunter Klingensmith, Swaner’s Director of Exhibits and Visitor Experience, and Rhea Cone, Swaner’s Director of Conservation. It will take place at the Swaner EcoCenter at 1258 Center Drive in Kimball Junction.