Lee H. Hamilton is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University. Hamilton represented Indiana’s 9th congressional[…]
Lee Hamilton recalls growing up a Hoosier during the War.
Question: Where are you from and how has that shaped you?
Hamilton: I was a very young boy when World War II started. I’m not sure quite what impact it had on me. I remember very clearly my father coming into the room and saying, “The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor.” I really had no concept of the seriousness of that, but I could tell from my father’s demeanor that he was very worried about it. And so I guess I was worried, too. So I grew up at a time when the country was going through an economic depression in the ‘30s, then shifted to a war footing with very rapid changes in American society. I’m sure I didn’t understand all of that, but that was the ______ in which I grew up.
I then moved to Evansville, Indiana, and I think I was in the seventh or eighth grade when that occurred. And from that point on, my recollection grew a little clearer, and it’s very simple: basketball. I grew up in an environment very similar to the movie Hoosiers. My sole focus in the very early days of my life was basketball.