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Lee Hamilton

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.