Personal Interview with Raymond D. Herring, WWII Veteran
pearl2.jpg Raymond Herring

Q: Do you remember the day that the attack on Pearl Harbor Occured?
A: Yes. Heard it over the radio. I remember December 7, 1941 on a Sunday. Remember it well.

Q: Where were you at the time of the attack?
A: At home. I knew I would have to go into service soon, and a lot of others did too.

Q: What changed in America after the attack?
A: All about the same. It was a long time ago.

Q: Have you seen the movie Pearl Harbor?
A: Yes

Q: And, if so, do you think the movie was an accurate portrayal of the event and why/why not?
A: It portrayed it very well, the ships with the people trapped and the one man that reported seeig planes coming in.
pearl1.jpg Raymod Herring with grandson Timothy Skinner
Q: Do you think there is anything that is portrayed in movies about wars that is different than in real life?
A: Seems like they are portrayed all about the same.

Q: What do you think about things that get added in to historically based movies to make them more interesting?
A: It's alright. A lot of it is actually pretty accurate.

Q: Do you think it is okay for historically based movies to have historical inaccuracies?
A: No they shouldn't, they should make it as realistic as possible.

Q: And, do you think that it is okay/necessary for the movie industry to add in things like fictional characters, fictional romance, ect. to add in more drama?
A: I think that it's alright.

Q: Do you think that in movies about wars, the industry tends to make things more gorey/bloody/violent for more action, do you think they cannot capture enough of the intensity of what happened, or do you think that they portray things pretty accurately?
A: Just about right. That's what really happened. It doesn't hurt the people watching to find out what really happened.



Personal Interview with Ed Peden, WWII Veteran

pearl5.jpgEd Peden

Q: Do you remember the day that the attack on Pearl Harbor Occured?
A: Yes I remember the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.

Q: Where were you at the time of the attack?
A: I was still in high school and working at a Turkey Shoot on a Sunday afternoon. News traveled very slowly in those days and it was about 4 P.M. when I first heard the news. Our primary source of news besides word of mouth was the newspaper, magazines and radio. Everyone was in shock. After I graduated from high school I worked at Sherwin Williams Paint Company while waiting to be drafted. I became impatient and joined the Navy as I preferred being on a ship instead of sleeping in a foxhole.

Q: What changed in America after the attack?
A: President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) declared war on the Japanese for the sneak attack. He also declared war on Germany and several days later Germany declared war on the U.S. The war in Europe had started in 1939 and France and Great Britain had declared war on Germany before the Pearl Harbor attack. After Germany invaded Poland, some Poles willingly accepted Germans in their country, it was a matter of time until the U.S. became involved. Germany had submarines in the North Atlantic that threatened any ships carrying supplies into that area, including U.S. cargo or military ships.

The Japanese were upset because of the U.S. trade embargo on their country. The Japanese fleet were very aggressive in the Pacific and island by island were moving closer to Pearl Harbor. Early Sunday morning, the Japanese Navy radar had picked up a large fleet of aircraft less than three hours out heading towards Pearl Harbor. The radar operator thought that this was probably a flight of B-17s' heading for Pearl and did not alert anyone. Remember this was early Sunday morning and the military did not anticipate any hostile military action at Pearl Harbor.

Most Americans were very patriotic after the strike and wanted to support our war efforts against the Japanese and the Germans. Our larger manufacturing companies quickly converted from manufacturing cars and civilian products to building and repairing navy ships, military aircraft and armaments. Consequently we ended up with a shortage of cars, tires, gasoline and food products such as meat, sugar, etc. Peoples had to justify their needs for gasoline, tires and certain food products based on size, miles to work and other relevant facts. We all had ration cards which allowed us a certain amount of these necessities of life. The Black market came into plan and there was a lot of horse trading to obtain gasoline, tires, sugar etc. The expanded military and economic growth helped put a lot of unemployed people back to work, including mothers, housewives, young women who took over the role as the factory worker. You may have heard of "Rosie the "Riveter". Of course this made a big impact after the war ended as the women's role had changed for forever. As the military complex expanded and the economy grew, so did the National debt and higher income tax rates also increased.

With so many young men, some with families being drafted and joining the military forces, the draft took on added importance. The draft boards had different classifications of young men who were subject to the draft. Students still in high school, in college, farm workers. Critical factory workers and disabled including flat feet in the army were all subject to being drafted at any time, depending on military shortages at any time. These circumstances and the many complaints resulted in many being called draft dodgers. I have never felt ill will against someone who had a legitimate reason for his classification. Women were exempt from the draft, but if we ever have a draft again, I pray not, that will not be the case in the future.

I served in the Navy as a Gunners Mate 2/C on a small amphibious ship (LCI) 457. We provided landing support for the Navy and Air Force Pre-invasion forces and during the invasion of the many islands in the South Pacific. The Japanese did not give up or surrender. They would rather die fighting or take their own lives to avoid capture. They did not even carry parachutes in the Japanese Zeros' that sometimes got through our air defenses. I do remember the first B-29s' that took off from the islands of Saipan and Tinian for Japan. Later they also flew from Guam and later Okinawa as we moved into those islands. I will stop here because I did not intend to keep going. Call me if you have any questions. This narrative more than covers your first three questions. I will be more brief for the next seven questions.

pearl6.jpgEd Peden, WWII


Q: Have you seen the movie Pearl Harbor?
A: Yes, I have seen the movie Pearl Harbor. It has been some time since I saw this movie, but I did enjoy it.


Q: And, if so, do you think the movie was an accurate portrayal of the event and why/why not?
A: Pearl Harbor was a fairly accurate movie portrayal of the Pearl Harbor attack. If is always difficult to portray a movie on an aircraft carrier and fighter planes in combat. I believe that I have seen some of the same film clips in other movies. There were some military inaccuracies that could not be avoided, but the theme of the Pearl Harbor attack was still there.


Q: Do you think there is anything that is portrayed in movies about wars that is different than in real life?
A: Directors often glorify war stories to draw audience attention and higher ratings. Some viewers may lose sight of the suffering that occurred and the other side effects that are often overlooked. By that I mean injuries, both mental and physical, that are very costly and change people lives and their family lives forever and into the future. The fictional stories that are woven throughout some movies tend to be unrealistic and result in false impressions of what war is really about.


Q: What do you think about things that get added in to historically based movies to make them more interesting?
A: Adding something to historically based movies that does not alter historical facts would be acceptable. If the additions present historical facts incorrectly, then it would not be acceptable. As so often happens, the director may take an authors story or historical account and embellish the story for audience appeal that can result in the viewers false impression of the historical facts.


Q: Do you think it is okay for historically based movies to have historical inaccuracies?
A: No, I do not think that it is okay for historically based movies to be historically inaccurate. This sometimes happens when an author or director has a political agenda. Sometimes the way a story is told may be accurate, but the way that it is presented may be persuasive towards a political view. The story or fact may be told to leave a different impression of the historical facts, depending on the presentation.


Q: And, do you think that it is okay/necessary for the movie industry to add in things like fictional characters, fictional romance, ect. to add in more drama?
A: Yes I think that it is okay and may be necessary to add fictional romance drama if the facts or history is presented accurately. The option as to how much fluff should be added depends on the audience who will be viewing. Even for a training film, sometimes a little added story will reduce the boring aspect of watching the movie and also generate more interest. Actually it is easier to remember a movie when the audience is interested and forced to engage their minds.


Q: Do you think that in movies about wars, the industry tends to make things more gorey/bloody/violent for more action, do you think they cannot capture enough of the intensity of what happened, or do you think that they portray things pretty accurately?
A: I think that war is gory and bloody/violent. However, I believe that it can be overdone in a movie. I may be a little leery of some people who enjoy watching a real gory or bloody movie. I cannot really enjoy these movies. Training or educational films may be the exception if a serious student or mature audience is watching.

pearl7.jpgEd Peden with wife Jerry