December 8, 1941
Date: 1941 Size: 470x370 pixels
The Japanese bombing of Pearl harbor stunned Auburn along with the rest of the nation.  The next day classes were dismissed and solemn students and faculty members gathered at Langdon Hall to hear over loudspeakers President Franklin D. Roosevelt tell Congress: "Yesterday, December seventh, 1941--a date which will live in infamy--the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."  The president told Congress, "Hostilities exist...our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger," and promised, "We shall not settle for less than total victory."  Congress agreed.  America was at war.  So was Auburn..  "Prominent Auburn leaders urged students to guard against war hysteria and remain in classes until the government called upon them to serve," the AU Report recalled.  "Auburn students heeded their message and adopted a 'How can I help?' philosophy."  Students enlisted in the armed forces in great numbers, and Auburn enrollment of 3,640 in the fall of 1942 dropped to 1,710 in 1943.
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