This is a photograph of my father, taken the day Pearl Harbor was bombed: December 7, 1941. One of my earliest memories - I was four and a half - watching my father put his Leica on a tripod, taking his own picture with a timing device, and then going into his darkroom to print this.
I can only imagine, now that he is gone and I can't ask him this (and he wouldn't have replied anyway, I suspect, taciturn Norwegian that he was) how he felt that day. He was thirty five years old, a major in the army, with a wife and two little girls. We had only recently left Honolulu, where I had been born, and the Japanese planes had flown in low over the house where we had lived. The explosions and smoke would have been visible from that house.
I had watched my mother listening to the radio that Sunday, and had run to find my father, who was outside, about to get into the car. "Come back!" I called to him. "Mama is crying!"
He came in, listened to the radio with her, and then changed his clothes. He put on his uniform. It seems strange to me now, that he did that. Was it some kind of patriotic gesture? Or did it immediately become mandatory that all military officers wear their uniforms? We were living in New York then. It is likely that they feared New York would be bombed next....