While air raids and bombing attacks may have been common experiences for Europeans during World War II, the continental U.S. didn’t get as much exposure to the actual fear of an air raid or bomb during the war. While there was some coastal activity from the sea, some shelling in Oregon and balloon bombs that made it across the Pacific, it couldn’t compare with what took place overseas. But fear lived on none the less, as there was enough activity following Pearl Harbor to put people on edge, including in Los Angeles.
During one night in February of 1942, the Battle of Los Angeles took place when, it was believed, an enemy attack was under way. Air raid sirens, anti-aircraft fire, and jangled nerves in darkness served to put everyone on guard. Turns out, most feel it was a false alarm, possibly caused by a stray weather balloon. Whatever it was, that one fateful night is remembered each year at the Fort MacArthur Museum in San Pedro. An old coastal Army post, the museum annually pays tribute during The Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942.
I never had the opportunity to go before, as schedules didn’t match up. This was my first foray to the event and I had a great time. While the museum does a great job, it is the attendees and volunteers as much as the museum that really make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. It isn’t an event for everyone – for some who lived in Europe during the war, like my in-laws, it wouldn’t be an experience they would likely care to relive. However, it offers a perspective seldom experienced in the U.S. and is a bit of our history.
While many people take the time to enjoy the dancing, I like wandering around and exploring the grounds.
A rare shot on this blog of my Little Man. I normally don’t like showing him here, but I thought this photo was framed so nicely. I bet some would be surprised to find I have a son, given I don’t post pictures often. Protective mama bear in action.
Of course, watching a gorgeous Los Angeles sunset from a beautiful vantage point isn’t too bad.
After the sun sets, the anticipation begins building. You know the sirens are coming, but when?
And before you know it, it is over! Well, it lasted about 15 minutes, but it seemed like it was over in no time. Now I’m already planning for next year. And the date has been posted. Mark your calendars for February 15, 2014. See you then!