Posted by: KazK | December 24, 2010

Day of Infamy

This Christmas episode is part of Season 7, with the morning of December 7th, 1941, dawning on Waltons Mountain.  Mary Ellen is very excited that she and John Curtis will soon be joining Curt in Hawaii, and she begins to pack her things.  The other family members are wanting have an early Christmas for Mary Ellen and her little boy.  During the day however, news is broadcast that Pearl Harbour has been bombed by the Japanese.  As each of the Walton family members hear the news they rush home to wait for further news and to comfort each other.  Both Mary Ellen and Verdie Grant face a long wait as they wait for news of their loved ones: Curt and Jodie, who is also posted to Hawaii.

As they wait the Walton boys speculate on which forces they might enlist in if war is finally declared, as it is, however John feels that for the moment they can serve their country better by helping him with the work in the mill.  The family sets up the Christmas tree as they wait, and finally they get news.  Although Jodie has only been injured, Curt has been killed in the attack. 

Grandma brings out a letter which Curt had left for John Curtis, just in case, and John reads it to his family gathered around him.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the people of the USA to have heard about the Pearl Harbour attack, and how vulnerable they must have felt at the time.  These days we get our information very quickly via the internet and news broadcasts, but in 1941 when the public had to wait to hear news on the radio, or by telegram, the wait must have been dreadful. 

This episode also showed how closeknit the Walton family were.  Mary Ellen relied on their support whilst she waited for some news, and they, in turn, rallied around, providing her with love and support in such an awful time.  Mary Ellen must have felt very close to Grandma as she waited to hear about Curt, as Grandma had experienced receiving her own telegram during World War 1, informing her that her and Zeb’s son Ben had also been killed during the war.   At least the lead up preparations to Christmas helped to take their minds off things for a short time, but it would have been a very difficult Christmas for the family.

The letter which Curt had written to his son, John Curtis, was certainly a real tear jerker.  Curt mentioned each of the family in turn, as bringing something special to both his own, and John Curtis’s life.  How lovely it would have been to have discovered how treasured the family was.  What a wonderful keepsake for John Curtis too.  A small legacy from his father explaining things that Curt was not going to be around to explain to him.  I wonder just how many such letters were written by young fathers who went off to war?

Day of Infamy was not the merry Christmas we expect from a television show, but an episode which shows that tragedy can happen at any time of the year, and demonstrates how families gain strength from one another during difficult periods of their lives.  It was through the love of her family that Mary Ellen found the strength to get through that awful Christmas, and continue on with her life.



  1. I watch this every December 7th.

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