Today we remember and honor all those who served and gave their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. One of those who served was Leo Kempton of Superior, Wisconsin, a Radioman 1st Class with the U.S. Navy. He was on duty the morning the Japanese attacked. In a handwritten letter he said,
“I was a 20 year old RM3c, USN. I was stationed at the U.S. Navy Radio Station, Wailupe, Oahu. My duty hours on that date were from 8am to 4pm. My assignment was to man the sending circuit to Navy Radio Washington. Therefore, it fell upon me to relay [this] message,
“Air Raid on Pearl Harbor. This is no drill”
that came over the landline from Admiral Kimmel’s headquarters. The actual sending of the message and obtaining a proper receipt should have taken but a minute or two, but because of the incredulity of the crew in Washington it actually took 20 to 30 minutes. They repeatedly asked me to slow down …and repeat the message.”
After the attack, the words “Remember Pearl Harbor” served as a rallying cry across the country. Today we use it to remember the bravery and sacrifice of everyone involved on that infamous day.