“Seventy-five years have proved Franklin D. Roosevelt right: Dec. 7, 1941, still lives in infamy.
This week brings anniversary-year remembrances of the global war that followed Japan’s attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and reflections on how the postwar order shapes the modern world.
You can find, as well, its reverberations around Tacoma, if you look closely enough at history.
Internment of Japanese-Americans eviscerated a bustling immigrant community. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt and New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia each visited Tacoma to hastily organize civil-defense projects. A mandatory citywide blackout lasted a week.
A promising start to host college football bowl games at Stadium Bowl petered out a few years after a packed house for the first tilt — on Dec. 6, hours before the attack.
Players awoke to the war news, recalled Washington State University fullback Earl Brenneis, whose team lost.
“I remember someone said, ‘Where’s Pearl Harbor?’ Next day we all knew,” Brenneis told an interviewer shortly before his death in 2013.
In the city today, you can even lay eyes on a likely not-long-for-this-world historical footnote: what’s believed to be one of only two still-floating warships that survived the attack.
Better hurry, though.
Tacoma’s (barely) survivor
The ship, which can only charitably still be called that, is a rusty floating breakwater averting waves for the sailboats and yachts moored at Tyee Marina, hard between Port of Tacoma industries and the bluffs of Northeast Tacoma’s winding residential neighborhoods….”