O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon holds its breath for nine boys stationed at Pearl Harbor

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

The first Progress edition after Pearl Harbor came Thursday, Dec. 11, 1941: “When the first radio flashes of Japan’s cruel bombing of U.S. possessions came over the air, O’Fallon received the grim news with calm but serious concern on Sunday afternoon. The city, like the rest of the nation, was confronted with the reality of war and many remained at their radios long into the night as the news bulletins were flashed from far-off places and the nation’s capital. Sternness was visible on faces of O’Fallon people, similar to that of all others the country over, but with a resolution that America cannot fail as a united country in the perseverance of freedom with its strong navy and army in a war that was unwanted by America.”

Yet there was worry for nine O’Fallon boys believed to be in Hawaii at the time — seven in the Navy and one each in the Army and Coast Guard. On Dec. 12, word reached here that one of them was seriously wounded in the attack. (To be continued next week.)

75 years ago, Dec. 11, 1941

Santa Claus is firmly entrenched in O’Fallon and “will fight it out on this front line if it takes until Christmas.” That was the communique from downtown today, as mothers and children ransacked his pack in what merchants predict will be the greatest Christmas shopping boom since 1929 ... Department store counters are full of toy soldiers, scores of army trucks and jeeps, war nurses, anti-aircraft guns, fleets of warships, ranging from mosquito boats to aircraft carriers, and complete American coastal defense forts.

50 years ago, Dec. 8, 1966

The Needy Family Organization will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday (tonight), in the City Hall Council room. They have been helping needy families for a period of 15 years and last year a total of 39 baskets were delivered for 51 adults and 49 children.