Grandpa and Grandma have told us this story many times before. It's of a memorable Sunday back on December 7, 1941. When I first heard the stories, I just listened intently, but recently I have been trying to get more details about their lives during this time.
My Grandparents at the time lived on Beretania and Piikoi. Grandpa was working in construction. He was at a constuction site right above Pearl Harbor when the first wave of Zero's struck. "We could see everything," he said.
He vividly remembers a big billowing cloud of smoke, and seeing a battleship tipping over in the harbor.
They left work early that day, and he recalled having to dive out of their Jeep into the ditches beside the road, because of stray anti-aircraft fire.
My Grandpa's parents were visiting from Hilo, and had just boarded their Hawiaian Airlines flight back to the Big Island of Hawaii, when the attack started. They had to come off the plane, and at one point were laying on the ground to stay safe. My Grandmother had accompanied them to the airport and recalled the chaos. They later returned to the Big Island by boat.
Later that day one of their woman neighbors was killed by stray anti-aircraft fire while she was at home.
When he did go back to work, my Grandpa remembered soldiers with rifles checking their vehicle as they went back to their construction site. "It was spooky," he said.
He also spoke of later working on a tunnel under Red Hill, which at the time was "just a big cave."
My Grandma remembers that they did not have a refrigerator at that time, and she shopped at a local market almost every day. Once the war broke out, their was a run on the store for food and supplies. The market was packed, but one of the workers their recognized her as a regular customer, and called her up to the front of the line, helping to make sure she had all she needed.