This is the first letter Elmer wrote following the attack on Pearl Harbor. As you can see he actually wrote two letters: one on the 10th and another on the 14th. But the letter itself was postmarked on the 17th.
The days following the attack were rough, both on the survivors and on the families of everyone back home who anxiously awaited word from their loved ones. As the Army and Navy began scooping body parts out of the harbor water with pillowcases and searching what was left of the Oklahoma and other ships for survivors, officials scrambled to inform loved ones about the fate of their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers. Unfortunately, this process took a great deal of time, given both the sheer extent of the destruction and the fact that thousands were presumed dead or missing.
Over 40,000 servicemen were stationed on Hawaii, and they all had people back home who cared about them. For some of those people, it would be a long wait before they received any news.