In Hong Kong, it happened on December 8th. Here's a post about how war came to Hong Kong, and about how the Japanese attacked "my" airline, the China National Aviation Corporation, with their first wave air attack on the morning of December 8, 1941. It's one of my favorite episodes in my book, China's Wings.
I was about 10 when we heard it on the radio. It scared us all, but the "Japs" were immediately classified in everyone's mind as subhuman and we'd beat them. Then I heard on the radio that Germany had declared war too and that scared the sh#t out of us.
We learned how to identify all the major axis planes from flash card silhouettes, and there were civilian spotters on the mountain tops in California. I can still identify quite a few.
I still get seriously introspective and a little sick every time a WWII documentary comes on. What we do to each other is unthinkable, and I wonder if we deserve to survive as a species.
But there was a humorous incident a couple of years after the war which still makes me laugh. I was walking down the street in Calistoga with my younger brother Bill, who was about 8 years old. A couple went by talking in German. Bill asked who they were, and I said they were Germans. He went pale, looked back, and asked me, "Are they tame yet?"