For some in Lexington, Ky., memories of Pearl Harbor are fresh

It was a cool Sunday in Lexington, with temperatures in the 40s, but hearts were warm at the newly organized Hillcrest Baptist Church, which was holding its first-ever service that morning.

The church had no building yet, so the congregation had gathered in the basement of a little grocery store owned by J.B. Day, at 1424 Versailles Road. The Rev. R.D. Aubrey, the recently named pastor, was presiding.

At some point in the service, Day, who had been listening to the radio upstairs, rushed in with the news that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor, a place many had never heard of. Aubrey immediately halted the service to offer a special prayer for those who had been killed, and for those who soon would be going off to war.

Ella Ritchey Flynn, who was in the congregation that day, mainly remembers being "shocked and scared." She was only 14, but her life would soon be changed. By the time Flynn was a high school sophomore, she'd be making parachutes for the war effort.

In Pikeville, Christine Hall and her husband, Hugh Benjamin Hall, were in waiting mode that day. Christine was in labor with her first child, and her doctor, who lived next door, had promised to drive her to the hospital when the time was right.

The telephone rang. Benjamin Hall answered it, and he heard a friend shout, "Turn your radio on. All hell has broken loose!"

Christine Hall remembers that when they finally reached Pikeville Methodist Hospital, it was "in complete bedlam, with doctors and nurses rushing everywhere." About 7 p.m., Hugh Benjamin Hall Jr. came into the world, born on arguably the most famous date in American history: Dec. 7, 1941.

On Wednesday, America will observe the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, which shocked the nation, crippled the U.S. fleet and thrust Americans into the middle of the biggest war in history. It remains a defining moment in history that affects us to this day.

Read the complete story at