Header with a photo of Mari K. Eder on the left, the text "Ret. Major Gen. Mari K. Eder. Author, Speaker, Consultant at Benson's ReView" in the middle. And two book covers (The Girls Who Stepped Out Of Line and The Girls Who Fought Crime) on the right.

A dark holiday season arrived early in New York City that year. It was December 1941, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had just occurred three weeks earlier. 

Everyone was on edge. Even Mae Foley, a New York Policewoman and mother of two grown daughters. What did the future hold for them? What did it hold for them all?

That Sunday, December 7th, Mae heard the breaking news announcements on the radio in her kitchen. 

She had had a foreboding of war ever since she was called to serve undercover investigating the Nazi movement in New York a few years earlier. But that day, she knew the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would provide the impetus for the U.S. to be drawn into the war. On all fronts.

Her first thought was to worry about her daughters. Next, she wondered if she would be called in to work. 

After all, the New York Police Department was in charge of coordinating civil defense for the city. By dusk that chilly December day, the city was dark, and even the lights of Broadway shut down. 

Mae Foley drew the curtains and wondered what would come next.

Earlier that year, in March 1941, nearby Fort Totten was established as one of four commands designated to defend against potential enemy attacks on the United States. 

While charged with responsibility for the entire Atlantic coastline, little more happened until Christmas Eve. With the U.S. entry into World War II on December 8th, the headquarters became active, exercising command and control of all aircraft, and fighting assets from Maine to Florida.

A patch with a red background and blue stylized waves at the bottom. Over the top are two golden tridents crossed in the shape on an x. A gold border lines the patch.

Mae was most familiar with the 62nd Coastal Artillery. It had been stationed at Fort Totten since 1922 and became the first anti-aircraft unit that December. 

Located on Willets Point Peninsula on Long Island’s north shore, it was primarily responsible for the defense of New York City and Long Island. Another anti-aircraft battery was set at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Another set up in Rockaway Park in Queens. 

Mae was comforted to know that if there should be an attack that her city was well protected.

A patch with a red background and blue stylized waves at the bottom. Over the top are two golden tridents crossed in the shape on an x. A gold border lines the patch.

Just a week after Pearl Harbor, practice blackouts began in the city. 

Mae didn’t find them comforting at all. It was too dark and in the quiet she found herself listening intently for the sound of planes. Enemy planes.

It was a quiet Christmas with her girls that year. 

They all looked forward to the new year and good news. But it was going to be a long time until the first victory parade in New York.

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