Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

December 6, 2013

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Col. Casper reflects on the attack

By CLINT FOSTER

December is such a wonderful time of year. The Holiday season presents a time for people to reflect on the significance of faith, family and friendship. It’s a time to give thanks for many blessings and bless others with a spirit of giving and goodwill at the front of our minds. The warm glow of colorful Christmas lights juxtaposes the invigorating chill in the air and even in Texas – where smiling at strangers is commonplace – folks just seem to always be in a particularly good mood.

But, as joyous as Christmastime is, so often lost in the shuffle is a day that should be set aside for special remembrance and reflection. It our nation to its very core and forever shifted the course of American and World history. It was a date, as Franklin D. Roosevelt put it, “which will live in infamy.”

Dec. 7, will mark the 72nd anniversary of that infamous date; that early Sunday morning when the United States Hawaiian naval base of Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese forces, launching the nation into World War II and shattering the notion that America, with vast oceans on either side, was immune to foreign aggression.

Long before he was Mayor of Mineral Wells or a three-war veteran, Col. Willie Casper, 93, was a young man living in Henderson, N.C., driving an ambulance and working at a funeral home. He told the Index on that particular December day, 72 years ago, he had just gotten back to the funeral home from lunch when he heard the President of the United States’ distinct voice over the radio.

“I stopped to see what he was going to say,” Casper recalled from his room at Lakewell House assisted living in Mineral Wells. “I knew it was going to be something bad. I knew we were going to have to do something.”

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