I wrote this paper for my history class for the fall 2013 semester. I had to conduct an "interview" about an event in history that greatly effected someone. A few topics were discussed in the interview, so I decided to include them all in my interview. The facts that I researched were found in the links at the bottom of the paper. Enjoy the read!
I had the great experience of conducting an interview with my grandmothers husband named Julius, better known in the world as “Zuke”. He decided for some unknown reason not to tell me his birthday, but he did tell me that he was born in 1931. The period in history that he said that he remembers the most and that affected him the most would be the event of Pearl Harbor. He distinctively remembers the event when he was a young 10 year old boy waiting for Sunday school to start. It was December 7 1941 Sunday school was about to start when the news pierced his ears that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. In the back row of his class, he sat hearing the devastating news confused as to what was happening. He had never heard of this thing called “War” before this day.
The attack on Pearl Harbor started on December 7 1941. It was a Sunday morning about 7:48 local time in Hawaii. The fleet consisted of 353 Japanese war fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes. These planes came at Hawaii in two different waves and were launched from six different air craft carriers. The death toll from this attack was extremely larger compared to the amount the Japanese lost. There was approximately 2402 Americans killed and an additional 1282 injured. This is compared to the 65 Japanese service men and one sailor that were captured. This is the event that leads America to join in the world war two and came as a big shock to the American people. The very next day the United States of America declared war on japan.
As a young boy, this knowledge of war had never been brought up in his young life. The fact of violence happening in the world was very disturbing to him and made this a day in his life that he will never forget. He told me that he remembers every detail of the day, but didn’t want to explain much of the details with me. I was also informed that if I were to go and ask any of his friends that were still living that they would say the same thing about the day. I feel like he did not want to go into great detail about the day just due to the fact of the bad memories he has from it.
Another event that Zuke told me that he can’t forget is the day President John F Kennedy was shot. He was at a friend’s house when this event happened. It was on Friday November 22, 1963 around 12:30pm when President Kennedy was shot. Zuke was at a friend’s house having general conversation with the radio playing in the background. The news was played over the radio and came to a big shock to everyone that was in the room when they heard the news.
The president was shot while in a presidential motorcade. He was in a car with his wife Jacqueline, and the Texas Governor John Connally. There was a long investigation on the shooting of the president which came down to a single individual that conducted the murder. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald. This man was murdered by Jack Ruby before Oswald could even stand trial. Polls that were token years later say that the majority of the American people believe that the killing of the president was covered up by something. A CBS news poll said that 76% of Americans believed that President Kennedy had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. Even this year in 2013, more than 59% of the American population still believes that more than one person was involved in the murder of President John F Kennedy.
The last thing that Zuke decided to tell me that he remembers the day of the event, would be a very recent event that I too remember where and what I was doing on that day. This event would be the attack on the Twin Towers in New York. The day was Tuesday, September 9, 2001, also known as 9/11. I remember this day very clearly. I was 15 years old, sitting in my history class. I was in the back row listening to the history instructor talk and talk while we took pages upon pages of notes. The phone at the teacher’s desk rang; the teacher finally stopped talking for a brief moment to answer the phone. The look on his face was indescribable. You could see the fear and pain in his facial expressions. He then hung up the phone and turned on the television to the local news channel. There it was, the twin towers smoking. The other students in the classroom became very quiet, as we watched the television. We didn’t know exactly what had happened, but we did know that it wasn’t good. That’s when the second plane hit the next tower, and we realized that America had seemed to be under attack.
On this day Zuke was sitting at home enjoying his bowl of cereal while he watched his television. He was watching the news when the event happened. Of course like everyone else watching the news, he could not believe what he was watching. This would be another day in his life that like many others, will never forget. This is another event that he didn’t want to go into great detail about. Like I have heard from many other people since that day, it is just not something that many want to speak about due to the effect that it had to all of us.
The World Trade Center was attacked by two large passenger airliners that were hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists. After the towers were hit, it took about two hours for both of them to collapse into the ground. There were two other large passenger airliners that were hijacked as well. One of them hit the Pentagon, and the other was headed towards Washington D.C., but passengers onboard that flight attempted to overcome the hijackers, which in turn crashed the plane into a field near Shanksville Pennsylvania. In total almost 3000 people had died from these attacks, which included 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes. It was also the deadliest event in history for firefighters for the United States of America.
My interview ended with Zuke, and you could clearly tell that his mood had changed. The events that he had described to me had defiantly affected him in a big way. As he told me in the beginning, if I were to go ask any of his friends about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they would respond in the same way. That day to him sticks out in his mind more than any other day in his life. The other two events he described to me had an effect on him as well, but that one day is the biggest.
Image used http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/6472086635/