Brother and sister relive memories from Dec. 7, 1941 attack

By Josh Arntz
The Dickson Herald

Published Dec. 8, 2011

BeeBee Lewis remembers wearing her dreaded gas mask Dec. 7, 1941. Her brother Tom McCreary recalls grabbing his father’s revolver and shooting at enemy planes flying over his home.

Wednesday marked the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, an assault that drew the United States into World War II.

“We was always told when I was in the Navy never to underestimate the enemy,” said Tom. “That was the main thing they put in our minds, and I’ll never forget that.”

Tom and BeeBee, along with her spouse Bill, visited the Clement Railroad Hotel Museum’s World War II exhibit Wednesday to commemorate the Dec. 7 anniversary. The siblings experienced first−hand the chaos and destruction during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Journey to Hawaii

BeeBee and Tom’s father, Thomas McCreary Sr. was raised in Middle Tennessee, but ran away from his Gallatin home at age 14 and joined the Army. BeeBee explained he then joined the Navy and traveled the world before settling in Honolulu.

McCreary Sr. married Tom and BeeBee’s mother in Hawaii, and the couple had three children.

The family lived on Hoolulu Street near Diamond Head Crater Park off the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline − about 20 miles southeast of Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu.

McCreary Sr. worked as a boiler master on Ford Island, the epicenter for the Japanese attack and where seven ships were anchored in Battleship Row along the southeast shore. BeeBee remembered her father getting the call to respond to the Dec. 7 attack.

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