Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Pearl Harbor 74 years later; Refugees in PA

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Dec 7, 2015 9:00 AM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, December 7, 2015:

Arizona at Pearl Harbor 2 600 x 340.jpg

U.S.S. Arizona

At 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the American Pacific Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt famously said in a speech before Congress and the nation that December 7th would live, "as a day of infamy." 

The bombing of Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II.  It also was one of the defining events in American history.

More than 2,400 Americans were killed and another 1,300 wounded.

Thousands survived the attack and went on to help the U.S. defeat Japan and Germany to win the war.

Seventy-four years later, there are not many Pearl Harbor survivors left.

One of the heroes of Pearl Harbor will be with us on Monday's Smart Talk.


Maj. Hank Heim

Retired Maj. Henry Heim makes his home in Central Pennsylvania.  He was a machine gunner at Pearl Harbor and has quite a story to tell.

Dr. Conrad Crane, Chief of Historical Services at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, also joins us.


Dr. Conrad Crane

Also, WITF Keystone Crossroads reporter Emily Previti is with us to talk about Lancaster and refugees.

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-12-07 09:51

    Jim emails:

    I've heard that the US had intelligence that Japan might attack Pearl Harbor, but the government didn't act because they thought an attack like this would be necessary in order for the American public to agree to enter the war. Please ask your historian to comment.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-12-07 09:51

    Tim in Camp Hill emails:

    Thank you so much for this conversation. The days are dwindling to have these type of personal accounts. I'd like to hear about the private's early days before his service. Did he grow up in Harrisburg? What were his feelings about the conflict before joining. How does he feel about the Japanese now?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-12-07 09:52

    Jack emails:

    The USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona (BB-39) during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-12-07 09:53

    David in York emails:

    I fly American flags on 'flag days' July 4th, Memorial Day etc. I LOVE to fly flag on Pearl Harbor Day but DO NOT fly a flag on 9/11 because I don't want to give the bastards (or enemy) the satisfaction.

    Do you ever feel the same way about observing Pearl Harbor because you don't want to give them the satisfaction? Or 9/11?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-12-07 09:59

    Michael emails:

    Note that Hank has been written up as the 1st profile in Pennsylvania Cable Network's Brian Lockman's fine book In Their Own Words An Oral History Of Pennsylvania War Veterans. Your program today has been a great show with great interviews. Thanks, Scott.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-12-07 16:40

    World War II veterans are so humble. Almost all of them that I've interviewed over the years say "I was just doing my job or doing my duty." Usually that's after they just described a story of their lives in danger or an act of heroism. Maj. Hank Heim is one of those humble people. This morning he told his story from December 7, 1941. He ran from his barracks when he heard the Japanese planes, grabbed a machine gun and mounted it inside a bomber's turret while Japanese plans bullets and bombs are all around him. Shot at as many enemy plans as he could, including two that flew low right over his head while strafing him with machine gun fire. Ran to a ditch as the plane he was in was all shot up. After the attack, he was stationed along the harbor with a 30.06 rifle all night in case the Japanese returned. After telling the story, he quickly told me that he wasn't brave -- that he was just doing his job. He was just one of the survivors who were doing their jobs that day. They all should be honored. When you remember Pearl Harbor, remember we'll be able to hear these stories from the people who were there for only a few more years, because they'll be gone soon.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-12-08 14:54

    Art ask...
    What movie does your panel think gives the most real depiction about what happened at Pearl Harbor?

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