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Excerpts: Chapter 1 – The Making of a Soldier

December 7, 1941, began just like any other Sunday at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. There was early morning reveille, followed by physical training and a good breakfast, then Sunday service in the Summerall Chapel. Little did we know this would be the "day that shall live in infamy."

. . .

I think I first learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor late in the afternoon. Most cadets were sleeping or listening to the music on the radio when the reports started coming in. "Pearl Harbor bombed" and "Japanese attack the Philippines." Word traveled fast through The Citadel. At first we thought the stories were rumors or somebody's idea of a joke. Soon, our worst fears proved to be true: Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor.

. . .

The Citadel cadets received the news with surprising calmness, almost as if it had been expected. Later we learned that 2,403 men and women had died in the unprovoked attack, and another 1,178 were wounded. The attack destroyed 188 planes and crippled a Pacific Fleet that included eight damaged or destroyed battleships. Nearly half of the dead were aboard the USS Arizona. Innocent men and women lost their lives protecting our country. That night we marched to supper chanting "Beat Japan" to the rhythm of the old Bulldog cadence.

Copyright Andrew Z. Adkins III, All rights reserved