Friday, August 22, 2008

...may they rest in peace

2403 men, women, and children killed—and 1178 wounded

USS Arizona
. . . . . . . . . .
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 the Imperial forces of the nation of Japan waged a deadly and devastating attack on the forces of the United States of America on the island of Oahu in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Now we come from all over the world to visit this memorial, this monument, this tomb. We simply refer to it as 'Pearl Harbor'.
. . . . .names of the U.S. Navy forces entombed in the USS Arizona
. . . . .
On Monday morning, August 11, 2008 we rose before 5am. We readied ourselves and made our way to the Hotel's Kuhio Beach Grill Breakfast Buffet. Some were apparently there when the doors opened at 5am. We arrived at 5:20am and found the room half full already - and this was before 5:30am on a Monday.

After completing our breakfast feast, we made our way to the 'Tours Lobby' area of the hotel. This is where tour buses picked-up and dropped off their pre-ticketed passengers. This was a very efficient and very well thought out part of the life and design of this tourist resort. We arranged tickets the day before at one of the Hotel's several Concierge stations.

O
ur bus was scheduled to pick us up at 6:15am. It was on time, but a member of a group of 13 men, women, children had not found her way down from her room - and the rest of us waited. The driver was very polite and courteous - and very emphatic ... someone needed to find this person and get her to the bus. Every minute we delayed would mean we'd be 15 - 20 people farther back in the line at the gate. The woman showed up within moments of that pronouncement.

Monday morning ... 6:30am ... highway H-1 from the east side of Honolulu at Waikiki Beach to Pearl Harbor on the west side of Honolulu ... traffic not unlike many large metropolitan cities on the mainland ... a driver who seemed to know the route and the traffic blindfolded - it all added up to a trip at unbelievable speed, considering the traffic and congestion. We arrived at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Gate by 6:50am - we were the second small tour bus to arrive. We were in the first 25 or so people in the line. By 7:15am, less than half an hour later, the line was almost around the block.
. . . . .
Once we were through the Visitors Center, and after watching a short film on the story of the attack, we were transported by passenger launch to the memorial itself.

Above is the entrance to the memorial, directly over the remains of the sunken destroyer USS Arizona [seen below], the tomb for those personnel still on board when it was sunk.

. . . . .

4 comments:

lillian marie said...

Even as a kid, I remember that being a very somber event...something that will remain with me forever.

Bill said...

Even as a kid, I remember the episode of the "Six Million Dollar Man" where Steve Austin found a Japanese pilot on a remote island who didn't know the war had ended thirty years earlier.

Therese said...

I wish I was in your suitcase Uncle Jim. I would love to see Pearl Harbor some time. Thanks for sharing your photos and experience.

God bless
Therese

Adrienne said...

It wouldn't let me leave a comment so I'm back to try again.

Visiting the USS Arizona was the highlight of my trip to Hawaii. It felt like you were on holy ground...