International House Berkeley

I-House Times Spring - Summer 2017

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International House Times 3 Standing Up for I-House Three Days in December 1941 I n a recent letter to Executive Director Hans Giesecke, Dr. Margaret Miller wrote: "I am enclosing a short story of my experience as a student living at I-House on December 7, 1941. I am now almost 95 years old and feel that I am re- living part of my experi- ence when I was 19.". Following is Margaret's story... e fall semester of 1941, I was 19 years old and had been living at the International House for almost a year. I left I-House Friday afternoon and took the F Train from Berkeley to our home in San Francisco. On Saturday night the whole family gathered to trim the tree that was set up in the front window so that the hundreds of lights would shine out onto the street. On Sunday morning, December 7, I was sitting with my mother having a late breakfast. My father was in the living room listening to one of the local radio stations. A little after 11:00 am he yelled, "Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor!" e three of us huddled around the radio for hours listening to CBS and NBC interrupt their programs with continuous announcements of the attack on our fleet at Pearl Harbor by Japanese naval airplanes. e Western Defense Command reacted immediately. e West Coast of the United States was in danger. Vulnerable targets in the Bay Area included both bridges as well as shipyards in every county surrounding the Bay. We couldn't believe what was happening. I decided to go back to I-House that day instead of staying the night in San Francisco. As I walked up the hill, I was frightened. I-House was a model of the way that people from countries from all over the world could live together peacefully. How would the day's events affect all of us who lived there? e I-House staff called a meeting to bring us up-to-date with orders from the War Board, which included blacking out all windows in the very large building. As I helped prepare I-House for blackout, I realized that my parents' house would also be blacked out, and the tree with all the beautiful lights would not be visible from the street that year. e next morning, on Monday, December 8th, we were called into the Great Hall, where we listened to President Roosevelt's radio broadcast where he spoke before Congress these famous words: "Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date that will live in infamy — By Margaret Miller (IH 1939-43) I knew a number of people from countries that were at odds with each other that got along great at I-House. Once they were removed from the negative environment back home, they found that they had a lot in common with people from neighboring countries that were perceived as enemies. I-House has done a great job of providing an environment where people can step back from the battles at home, get to know people from around the world and realize that most people are good no matter where they come from. Bill (IH 1977-79) As an alum of I-House, a passionate citizen of the EU and a friend of the US, I thank you so much for your clear mission. We pray for your freedom since it is indivisible. I-House is a marvellous place and an important institution to stand up against illiberalism. God bless America and the whole world. May he make us strong to defend our values. Best regards from Frankfurt . Thomas ( IH 1986-87) I commend I-House for taking a stand on important issues... It is my hope that you can raise a groundswell of support for the principles that I-House stands for. We cannot go forward hoping for world peace and understanding between all people if barriers to understanding and cooperation are put forward and accepted without challenge. Congratulations to you all for doing so. While living at I-House I gained some of the most enriching experiences of my life. Janet (IH 1964-65) In light of the current political climate in the US, alumni from around the world have sent messages of support for the I-House mission. Many shared stories of how their time at I-House strengthen their international friendships and cultural understanding. Email to share your thoughts. Continued on page 6 Margaret's I-House application photo More power to you and all the rest of us who believe in and are firmly committed to greater and not fewer international exchanges of life experience and knowledge that cut across and transcend national, ethnic, racial, and religious boundaries, without fear and with respect and compassion for our fellow man. Bradley (IH 1980)

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