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Recalling 'a date which will live in infamy'

by MAUREEN DOLAN
Staff Writer | November 15, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - It has been nearly seven decades since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared Dec. 7, 1941 "a date which will live in infamy."

Teachers, staff and students at Lakes Magnet Middle School have big plans for how they will remember Pearl Harbor this year, and they are inviting local residents with memories of that day to join them this coming Dec. 7 at the school.

"We want to honor 'The Greatest Generation' in our community," said Lakes teacher Dave Eubanks. "It's the generation that lived through the Great Depression. They saved democracy."

The day following the Japanese attack, Roosevelt told Congress the United States could no longer avoid fighting in World War II. Members agreed with the chief executive, and the nation declared war on Japan.

"With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God," Roosevelt asserted, according to Associated Press reports from Dec. 8, 1941.

The attack sank four U.S. battleships and destroyed 188 U.S. planes. Another four battleships were damaged, along with three cruisers and three destroyers.

Of the 2,400 Pearl Harbor casualties, more than 2,200 were sailors, Marines and soldiers.

The remembrance event at Lakes is in the planning stages with the focus on gathering local voices from the World War II era to share their experiences with each other and the students, Eubanks said.

Attendees will likely enjoy watching some swing-dancing students perform to the sounds of the Andrews Sisters.

Rosie the Riveter, the fictional character inspired by the women who went to work in U.S. factories during the wartime effort, should be flexing her famous muscle on a least one wall in the school.

Highlights will include the Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guard, archival film footage, and a presentation by local historian Robert Singletary.

Singletary will focus on North Idaho's geographical connection to World War II - what is now Farragut State Park in Athol.

Built on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille in response to the events at Pearl Harbor, ground was broken in March 1942 for Farragut Naval Training Station. It provided a secure, inland U.S. Navy training center for more than 293,000 sailors during the war. The base was decommissioned in 1946.

Eubanks said they hope anyone who remembers Pearl Harbor will accept Lakes Magnet Middle School's invitation to be part of the Dec. 7 event which will take place during the school day.

"We're wheelchair accessible. No matter how many we hear from, we'll fit them in," he said.

Those who want to participate are encouraged to RSVP to Eubanks before the date.

Information: 667-4544 or deubankscdaschools.org

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