The coverage of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was compelling and important. Equally important, but which seems to be fading from the observances more every year, was the story of Wake Island. On Dec. 7, 1941, halfway between Honolulu and Tokyo, about 2,000 civilians, Marines, and Naval personnel were also attacked. Many of the civilians were contractors from Idaho and the Treasure Valley. The tiny atoll was bombed for 15 days, accompanied by several invasion attempts. Some civilians assisted in defense of the island. The first enemy ships were sunk by gunners on Wake. This was a huge physical and moral victory for the U.S. early in the war. On Dec. 23, the island was taken. Except for 98 kept there and later executed, the rest of the Americans were taken to prison camps and spent the war under horrific conditions. Many never came home. Those that did had debilitating sickness, injury and emotional scarring to deal with. They continued to meet as brothers, having formed bonds that lasted for life. The memory of who they were, what they did, what they endured, and what it all meant to our history should never be forgotten.
Curtis Stoddard, Eagle