The night was calm and quiet on December 6, 1941. Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines were in port on Pearl Harbor. They had no idea what was about to happen in just a few short hours…
Similar to many American kids growing up these days, mine have everything they need and mostly everything they want.
If you ask them, they’d tell you they want (need) more games…after stepping over lego’s, nerf guns, XBOX controllers, and who knows what else.
I sat at the table Friday night and thought I’d switch our Saturday outing a bit from our usual hike, beach outing, or grabbing shave ice. These kids needed to learn a lesson.
We decided to take a short drive and visit Pearl Harbor. A memorial in remembrance of the 1941 attack from the Japanese military fleet bombing Naval Air Station Kaneohe and Pearl Harbor, destroying several American ships, and ultimately ending the lives of thousands of Servicemembers.
Little did I realize, I needed that lesson too.
Upon entering the gates, we walked up to claim some tickets.
—-A few bits of advice here—-
-Leave your bags in the car. Seriously, they won’t allow you to enter past the front gate if you have anything larger than a 5″ pouch/purse. I had a small fanny pack I nicknamed my “documentation kit”, no bigger than my camera, and I was denied entry the first time around.
-If you haven’t reserved tickets to the Arizona memorial, know that they have about 1300 non-reserve tickets per day on stand-by. The boat ride to the memorial is FREE, Tickets to the USS Missouri and Airplane museum will run you about $30 per person.
-You can no longer walk on the Arizona Memorial due to cracks in the foundation. The boat only gets close enough for photos. This was a bummer, but I understand.
Before getting on the board, you’ll watch a 20 minute movie on the events surrounding Pearl Harbor. It was a great short movie, really makes you think about the sacrifices those that came before us made.
What stuck with me was when my 8 year old asked how many people died during the attack and where they’re buried. I could tell he was trying to wrap his mind around the concept of how so many people were buried at sea, inside the USS Arizona and other ships, essentially drowning because they couldn’t escape the engine rooms and other compartments in time.
In the quiet of the night, the havoc that awaited them in a few short hours, it’s difficult to envision being in that situation. Especially since I work less than half a mile from where the attack first touched ground on Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay (now Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay)
I’m certain this tour taught them something. Maybe not so much the 4 year old, but definitely the 8 year old and teen. Always be thankful for what you have, you never know when it will no longer be there, always be aware of your surroundings and always keep in thought those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.