Paul Greenberg

Some memories never fade, and shouldn't.

The news, like the attack, came out of the blue. So did an email I got relaying an old-timer's memories of that day, a day that would live in infamy. His daughter up in Connecticut was kind enough to relay them to me down here in Arkansas.

Why me? Because, she explained, "I recently came across your 2011 article about remembering Pearl Harbor. The article prompted a discussion with my father, who related his memory of December 7th. Thanks to your article, our family has the following first-hand account of the day." And thanks to her and her father, Robert Cunningham, I can share his memories with you, Gentle Reader, on the 72nd anniversary of that fateful day:

"I was a newspaper delivery boy for the Hartford Courant during the fall of 1941. During that time, the Courant was holding a subscription drive. Each paperboy who signed up a new subscriber was invited to a banquet dinner at the Bond Hotel in Hartford. The award dinner for hundreds of delivery boys was held late in the afternoon of December 7, 1941. In addition to the dinner, the Courant arranged entertainment for us. There were clowns, juggling and local sports heroes.

"In the midst of the festivities there was a lot of commotion on the stage. Eventually someone came on stage and announced that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Many of us had no idea where Pearl Harbor was located. The speaker explained the importance of the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Being paperboys, we were also informed that the Hartford Courant would be publishing an evening Extra edition that would be published as additional information was received. We were asked to report to our normal newspaper delivery location to wait for the special edition.

"I took the bus back to my usual delivery location in West Hartford and waited and waited. When the Extra edition did not arrive, I joined other young paperboys and took the bus back to the Hartford Courant at State Street in Hartford to wait for the edition to come off the press. When we arrived at the Courant building, there were stacks and stacks of papers waiting to be delivered. At that point we took the papers and ran into the streets of Hartford delivering papers to a city eager for news of Pearl Harbor.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.