JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1789JFK HEARS NEWS OF PEARL HARBOR ATTACK ON CAR RADIO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) John F. Kennedy entered the United States Navy as an ensign in September 1941. Fresh out of Officer Training School, JFK was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence here in the Nation's Capital.
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Jack Kennedy had been enjoying one of his favorite pastimes, a pick up touch football game with his friend Lem Billings on the Mall close to the Washington Monument.
As the two young friends were returning to Jack's apartment on 16th Street, they heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor over their car radio.
Nigel Hamilton writes...
"(Lem) Billings was 'terribly excited.' Thick, billowing smoke rose above the Japanese embassy on Massachusetts Avenue as guilty diplomats burned their papers. Hundreds began to assemble outside the White House...wanting to know what would be the president's reaction."
John F. Kennedy could not have known then how much of an impact this event would have on his life and that of his family. He would go on to serve in the South Pacific during the coming war and narrowly escape death on the PT109.
As to the immediate impact of Pearl Harbor, Nigel Hamilton tells us that after FDR's 'Day of Infamy' address, the Office of Naval Intelligence immediately "moved into wartime gear," working "round the clock."
"A Hero For Our Time: An Intimate Story of the Kennedy Years," by Ralph G. Martin, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1983.
"Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero," by Chris Matthews, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2011.
"JFK, Reckless Youth," by Nigel Hamilton, Random House, New York, 1992.