The entrance of the United States into World War II was not unexpected. But the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was stunning news. It was late afternoon on that Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, via radio when people in Harford County first heard about the deadly attack in Hawaii.
There were men from Harford County stationed there at the time, and the hours and days were long indeed until those loved ones were reported alive and well.
Everyone recalls exactly what he or she was doing that afternoon. As Mildred Preston recalls, "I was eating dinner at Mother's - it was late Sunday afternoon. We were shocked."
Later in the week, The Aegis for Dec. 12, 1941, carried a banner headline, "Harford Citizens Accept War with Great Calmness." Air raid wardens and aircraft observers from Aberdeen Proving Ground and Edgewood Arsenal went on duty, and security and search programs at the entrances to the bases were put in place. All leaves for soldiers were canceled, men were recalled to the bases, and military details were posted at the gates around the clock.
Source: Harford Historical Bulletin, No. 65, Summer 1995, "The Homefront: Harford County During WWII, Part I," by Esther Dombrowski, pp. 108-109.
Compiled by the staff of the Harford County Public Library