A Letter Home to Iowa, 11 Dec 1941

The following is a "reproduction" of a letter that my father, Bill Innanen, wrote home to his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Leah and Glen Whitinger, in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. It was published in the Sioux Rapids newspaper, and recently came to light in the effects of an elterly relative, Velda Tripp. The clipping was forwarded to me by my Aunt Annette, my mother's sister. I've tried to format this to give the flavor of a newspaper clipping.

It's interesting to note the rose colored glasses slipping into place, even coming from someone who saw what happened in Pearl Harbor.

Bill Innanen Sends Letter from Hawaii via Clipper

Among First Mail to Reach Iowa
Since Jap Attack

(The following letter was received by the Glen Whitingers of Sioux Rapids from their son-in-law, Bill Innanen, who lived in Sioux Rapids until last August at which time he and his wife went to Hawaii to accept government construction work, there. The letter was opened by censors but nothing was deleted so neither did we. It apparently came by clipper, and was received Monday night.)

2880 Dow St.
Honolulu, T. H.
Dec. 11, 1941

Dear Folks,
   You will have to excuse my cussing in this letter but I'm still MAD. These damned JAPS sure jumped on our back but even at that they didn't get so far, in fact they got a damn good pounding. The only thing we worry about now is that they won't come again. If they do they will get annihilated. Things are really ready for them in the harbor. Most all damage is repaired and everything is in good shape.

Thought it Was Maneuvers

   It sure was a complete surprise. I thought it was maneuvers at first, until a shell screamed through the air above and I began to think they weren't playing. It was then announced over the radio.
   We were all called in and put to work. You will understand that I'm not allowed to write all I would like so I will leave that out for now. (While it is not definitely known here it is likely that Innanen is working as a cement worker on the air base at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.)

Caught in the Third Raid

   I got caught in the third raid
and I don't mind admitting I was scared - plenty scared. Marg was home alone and took it like a trooper with nothing for protection but a butcher
knife. Since the emergency Marg has been as busy as everyone in Hawaii. She has been working at the Queen's hospital with responsible jobs
(Continued on next page)

(Cont. from a previous page)
in the surgery department. I sure am proud of how she has acted through all this. She has not only kept her head but really has worked hard and I believe, in the work she has done she has saved a good many lives. As long as I live no can ever call her a sissy. (Marg is Mrs. Innanen, wife of the writer and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Glen Whitinger of
Sioux Rapids. She attended Buena Vista College and taught the primary deparment of the Cumberland, Iowa, school, but has never had any nurse's training of any kind.)
   We can't get in touch with Helen or Howard but they are OK, as I can see their house from where I work. (Helen and Howard are Dr. and Mrs. Lilejestrand. Mrs. Lilejestrand the former Helen Hornor, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. L. Hornor of Sioux Rapids. He is head of a hospital in Aiea and had cabled that they are safe.)

Works Full Days

   I work as many hours as there is day light and I suppose that will be 7 days a week. I don't care how hard we work or how long just so that we get every damned Jap on that island and then blow the island to Hell!! That is the way everybody feels about it here and that is the way it will turn out. We know now what it is to be under attack and we know that our armed forces have it under control. It is all very thrilling even if it makes you mad as a wet hen and about scared out of your wits.

Passes Censors

   I'm afraid when I get back to Iowa there will be many stories starting with "Now when we were in the war in Hawaii," etc. I have a good many experiences already and expect some more.
   This may all get censored but it is how I feel and I can't help it. Don't worry about us. We will both be all right. The good Lord looks after us, I'm sure, or we all would have been dead long ago.

Copyright © 1998 by William G. Innanen. All rights reserved.
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