Tragic attack left impression on recent grad

The attack of Pearl Harbor 75 years ago changed the nation and the lives of many families.

For Columbus resident Hester Ann Moore, the historic day of Dec. 7, 1941, left a lasting impression on her and so many others.

“It was horrible,” said Moore, then 18 and employed by Cummins since her graduation from Columbus High School six months earlier.

“We knew we could be hit and that we could be involved, and we worried about it,” said Moore, now 93.

“That was far enough away from Columbus, Indiana. But at that point in my life, I had never really been worried about war,” Moore said.

Many young men at the time had decided to enlist in the military.

With the war effort continuing, the young woman decided to join the U.S. Navy herself after three years in an office position at Cummins.

“I wanted to see if I could do something,” said Moore, whose brother Jack was in the Marines.

Stationed in Washington, D.C., she also worked as a shopkeeper for about 19 months.

Moore said while Pearl Harbor didn’t significantly change her own life, she noted that it affected her mother, Vivian Beatty, who was faced with food rationing.

Moore visited Pearl Harbor with her late husband, Keith, in the 1980s as part of a trip overseas. In Hawaii, she recalled seeing air bubbles come up from the water, saying it made her feel like she was going to cry.

“You can’t help but feel those boys are still there,” Moore said, her voice breaking.

Hester Ann Moore said she believes an emphasis needs to be made on educating schoolchildren about historic moments such as the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“It’s a different kind of world that we fight now than when we fought back then,” Moore said. “There’s no closeness among people like there used to be.”

Moore said the Pearl Harbor attack is something she will always remember, and hopes others will take the time to pause and reflect on today’s 75th anniversary.

“It’s going to make people stop and be thankful they’re an American,” she said. “Take time out and think about it.”

Hester Ann Moore

Name: Hester Ann Moore

Age: 93

Branch of service: U.S. Navy

Dates of service: Served for 19 months

Where she grew up: Columbus

Family: Two children, Jennifer and Jeffrey, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her husband of 61 years, Keith, died in 2010 after a long illness.

Where she lives now: Four Seasons retirement community in Columbus