Recalling history: Boca Raton woman in Pearl Harbor attack as 5-year-old

Marie Isaacson witnessed history
Posted at 7:19 PM, Dec 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 19:28:35-05

When she was 5-years-old, Marie Isaacson of Boca Raton was living with her family very close to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when military bases were attacked December 7, 1941.

"The planes were really, really low and I was trying to ask my father why they had a different thing on the wing and he just became very stiff and then shouted at us to go in the house," Isaacson recalled.

According to Isaacson, her father served in the Army and once the attack started, he had to perform duties on the island.

The night of December 7th was something Isaacson said she’ll never forget.

"We could hear the bombing and the shooting and we had no idea what was going on because we didn't have a telephone, you know, we didn't have cell phones," said Isaacson.

Isaacson said in the following days and weeks, her father was constantly busy helping in the aftermath of the attack.

She says her 3 siblings and mother were moved to several buildings after the attack and Isaacson said she didn’t see him for weeks at a time.

"The hardest part was not having a house. You went to a school and then you went to another school and then you went somewhere else," said Isaacson.

While you'll find history tells many accounts of that day - it's the aftermath for military families in Hawaii that Isaacson can talk about

"When they said everything was all right with our house and everything was safe, it was not. We didn't get the things that were ours when we left," said Isaacson.

More than a year later, Isaacson says her family took a Red Cross ship to San Francisco.

The threat of Japanese attacks was still evident. "The whole time I thought I was going to die but we made it there with sun suits and no shoes," said Isaacson.

Since then, Isaacson has returned to Hawaii many times, the first, with close family. "It was hard, hard, hard for them. Everybody, when you go there, you get very quiet. It's sad."

Isaacson, who lives in the ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Boca Raton, says when she passes away, she’d like to have her ashes spread in Hawaii close to where she lived.