Dec. 8, 1941: Pittsburgh was “coming to a slow boil” one day after Japanese fighter planes attacked Pearl Harbor, the Post-Gazette reported. Streets in the Golden Triangle were packed with Christmas shoppers still recovering from the shock of the news they’d received the previous day.
People gathered around radios in offices, hotel lobbies, theater foyers and bars as President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan. Hundreds line up on Diamond Street, where a public address system piped out Roosevelt’s historic statement, “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy … ” School children listening to the speech elsewhere in the city applauded, but this crowd listened grimly.
Eager, patriotic young men lined up at Army, Navy and Marine recruiting stations on Smithfield Street. A Post-Gazette reporter heard them ask, “How soon can we leave?”
A note on the back of this print states it was made at an Army Air Corps recruiting station. We at the Digs studied the image for some time and wondered about the eventual fate of these volunteers.