Suddenly I See

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hawaii Day Two: Oahu

Today started off at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. This was our first time there and it was very moving and much more emotional that I had prepared myself for. Walking around the entrance area you get to read and see pictures of the men and women who risked and in some cases gave their lives when we were attacked by Japan. It is always interesting to me the things that human beings are capable of and the innate ability we have to help others at our own expense.

We went to the USS Arizona. You have to get on a boat and they take you over to the memorial site which is set up above where the Arizona sank. It's overwhelming to think about what happened there and how many people died that day. The guide said that it was over 1100 (I think) that died on the Arizona alone but 3300 survived. When you are standing in the memorial you look down and you can see the ship, it's not super clear but you can definitely see the outlines of it. I kept thinking how much I wish my grandparents could see the memorial, especially my grandpa who is a WWII veteran. If it was poignant to me I can't imagine how moving it would be to them.

One very interesting thing the guide told us about is the internment of the Pearl Harbor survivors. If you were on the Arizona the day of the attack and survived you have the choice to have your ashes buried there when you do pass away. Below is a picture of the list of men who have chosen to do that. The guide says that the family requests this and they have a private ceremony at the site and put the ashes down in one of the sunken gun turrets. There are 30 survivors of the Arizona still alive today. If you survived the Pearl Harbor attacks but were not on the actual Arizona then you can have your ashes scattered over the top of the ship.

The below picture is of a Pearl Harbor survivor, he was stationed on Ford Island which is right behind where the USS Arizona is.

After Pearl Harbor we headed to the "Windward" side of the island and went to Kailua for lunch and then to Lanikai beach, which is supposed to be one of the nicest beaches in the country, which I would agree with. The water was warm, the sand was soft, and the view was amazing and really, the pictures don't do it justice.

Tonight, we just walked around Waikiki (which is kind of like the Vegas strip, only it's next to the beach and there are no casinos) and had dinner and relaxed. We are still a little jet-lagged.

As promised here is the view from our hotel balcony.

Goodnight! Tomorrow we are taking on Diamondhead!


Pam said...

Thank you so much for the pictures of Pearl Harbor and the things that you learned. I had never heard the story about men being allowed to be buried there. How interesting. The beach pictures are amazing. Have a great day at Diamondhead and can't wait for the next chapter of your trip.

Eliza said...

Katie, this looks and sounds like such an amazing trip! I am so jealous!!