The Afternoon the World Changed Essay

The Afternoon the World Changed Essay

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On a mild winter afternoon in December 1941, Arthur rode his bicycle through the twisting streets of downtown Everett. He didn't see many people outside. That Sunday, most everyone was huddled around the radio listening to the football game between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

He took advantage of the mild day and figured he'd catch the end of the game once home. He was fifteen and more important things than football were on his mind. His thoughts turned to all the pretty girls at school. The transition from parochial school to Everett high school had stunned him at first. He suddenly found himself surrounded by girls that had been denied him in Catholic school.

He dreamed of dating and marrying down the road. Just dreams, he thought. Right now, he felt his shyness would keep him single forever. When he wasn't thinking about girls, he thought about radios. He opened them up and explored their inner workings, the wires winding through tubes like roadways. He thought that maybe one day he'd be an inventor. Sometimes, late at night, he'd look up at the moon and dream of the future and possibilities.

A thousand thoughts buzzed in his head as it does with teenage boys. At first, he didn't notice the people swarming in the streets until he heard shouting. He pulled up near a group of men. Their voices raged and the anger in the air was palpable.

"The Japs bombed Pearl Harbor"
"They sank all our ships."
"Goddamn sneaky bastards."
"There's going to be hell to pay mister- you mark my words."

The news filled Arthur with fear and excitement. War, he thought, a real live war. His mother worried that this day was coming. He turned his bike around and sped off for home as fast as his legs could pump. He took corners w...


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...ilding an airfield. They now posed a direct threat to Australia. The allies decided that this island would be the first battle of the Pacific War.

After ten days in New Zealand Rich's unit set sail and met up with the aircraft carriers Sarasota, Enterprise and the Hornet. They spent several days climbing up and down cargo nets into amphibious landing crafts. The men found the drills tedious while others found that it made them seasick.

A week later, they set sail for the Solomon Islands. The war they had trained for was finally here.

Their ship approached Guadalcanal. On the eve of the invasion, Rich wrote in his journal that he hoped to live and write tomorrow night. On August 7, Rich and his friends stormed the beaches of Guadalcanal. They secured the airfield with little resistance. But holding the airfield would prove a bloody task over the next six months.

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