President Roosevelt memorably called December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. Of course he was right and ever since then, decades later, the date stands as a remembered and somber memorial in American history.
I was fortunate to discover where Lee Marvin was when he found about the bombing of Pearl Harbor via his letters from school to his parents. The passage, included in the text of Lee Marvin Point Blank, explains exactly why he came to the decision that he did. It is as follows:
“…..on December 7th, 1941, Lee and a friend were leaving a movie theatre. They had been making plans for a cross-country hike for the following summer when the news from Pealr Harbor came over the radio. With America plunging itno war, the seventeen-year-old now found it even harder to focus on school. His brother Robert was the first to sign up and joned the Army Air Corps. His father made plans to rejoin the Army and hoped to get a commission. As for himself, Lee grappled with his options, but finally wrote his parents in May of 1942: ‘I think I have finally come to a decision about the service. I believe that I will join the Marines about the middle of summer. I was talking to one Jacksonville last week and he was telling me all about it, good and bad. He was 22 or 23 and from Conn. He also said that it still is the best place for someone that wants to fight and raise hell.’ ”
As readers of Lee Marvin: Point Blank know, what he experienced over the next two years would change his life and eventually that of American film making, forever. If you haven’t read it, his experiences in the Pacific during the war are told exclusively in his own words via letters to his family and friends written at the time.
And with that in mind, reverent thoughts abound to all those who gave their lives on December 7th, 1941….