... and then repeats itself in Hawaii
Honolulu Travel Blog› entry 36 of 40 › view all entries
June 18th, 2006 – by: JacketsDownUnder
We went through Customs and Immigration and were given a hearty "Aloha" upon our return to the United States. Immediately thereafter (and as soon as Miller remembered he needed to drive on the RIGHT side of the road once again) we departed for the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, just west of downtown Honolulu.
Given that my grandfather served in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War and that he lost one of his legs from shrapnel off a Japanese aerial bomb, the events of December 7, 1941, have particular significance for my family. (In fact, my great-grandmother turned 50 on that fateful day, and my grandfather, already enlisted in the US Army for almost a year, was at home on leave... and soon after his return to Camp Stewart, he and his comrades departed to fight Japan.)
The line to enter the museum and the memorial stretched down to the street, completely down the sidewalk, and started to loop back on itself. Sheldon and I were in line for about 30 minutes just to pick up our time ticket and enter the exhibit area, and it was another hour or so before we could board the boat to head out to the memorial itself.
I freely admit that during the 25-minute movie that explained exactly what happened before, on, and after December 7, I cried. The visit carried a great deal of emotion for me... especially when we stepped aboard a Navy-manned boat and quietly rode to the memorial. In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the museum and visitors center, the memorial is eerily quiet. The shape represents a bridge that rests across the bridge area of the Arizona. The ship lies just below the surface. Some parts, such as a gun turret, stick up and gleam in the sun. Oil still bubbles up from the wreckage that now marks the grave for over 1,100 sailors and Marines.
In one of the most poignant images within Pearl Harbor, one can stand on the memorial and look eastward out of the bay... and see the USS Missouri, where, in early September 1945, the Empire of Japan formally surrendered to the United States and its allies. So, within in a mile of one another, you can see where the war started and where it officially ended.
Our day in Honolulu was just starting... we headed to Diamond Head state monument. We will write more about that and our days on the Big Island and Maui later. For now... bed time.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!