December 7, 1941


If you remember any part of elementary history (I'm not sure which grade), you know that this date marks the day the Japanese made their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. It's a day our nation nor its survivors will ever forget. Seven ships sat that day on "Battleship Row" with thousands of crew members aboard unknowing of the attack they were about to be under. The attack by air began early in the morning hours and came in two different waves. Thousands of lives were lost that day...1,117 of the USS Arizona crew alone.

Several of the ships were reconstructed after the attack and were even put to use again, but the USS Arizona remains where it sat the day of the attack, her crew members lost buried with her. The USS Arizona was designated as a symbol of freedom and a testament of those who made the ultimate sacrifice that day. The contruction of the USS Arizona Memorial was completed in 1961, and it actually stands above the sunken ship.

I wasn't sure what to expect, so the entire visit was all new to me. We actually ended up making our visit to the memorial on Thursday of our week-long vacation. I was the moron who thought we might actually get to go on the actual anniversary, December 7th, but when the agent booking our tour gave me "the look" when I asked if we could go on Monday, I knew then we would be on to Plan B for that day. But we finally made it on Thursday, and it was very worth the wait. When we first arrived, we purchased our tickets to visit the memorial. This included watching a film of the attack giving us a mini history lesson as it went along. We then boarded a boat that took us out to Battleship Row where the memorial stands.

Once we were there, we walked onto the memorial where we entered a room with flags from all of the nations represented that day.

Then we walked into a really large viewing area where we could look over and see the Arizona underneath. We even saw the oil come up to the surface (yes, it still leaks from the ship to this day) while we looked beneath us.

Our last stop was a room made of marble walls with all the names of each person lost that day etched in black into the wall. It was extremely moving to see the thousands of names listed from one end of the wall all the way to the other...all heroic Americans who served our country and gave their lives for our freedom.

We stopped for one last photo op, and then boarded the ferry boat once again to take us back to dry land. As we looked back at the memorial, we realized how blessed we are and took it all in. Literally when Jim and I both think of Hawaii, one of the first things that comes to each of our minds is Pearl Harbor. What an awesome priviledge it was to visit this place and see such an incredible piece of our country's history.

When we returned, we took one last look around, took a few more pictures, bought a few souvenirs and boarded our bus that took us back to Waikiki (very reluctantly I might add because our tour guide, Pedro, was not the best in the world...he was actually very annoying...and not Hawaiian I must add in their defense).

But whether we left reluctantly or not, we definitely left feeling very honored and very proud which is what really mattered in the end.

1 comment:

  1. Remember Pearl Harbor -- Keep America Alert!

    America's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 101st year is former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, U. S. Navy (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, "The Day of Infamy", Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

    (Now deceased) 'Navy Centenarian Sailor', 103 year old, former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Radioman (ACRM, Combat Aircrewman), later wartime commissioned Chief Warrant Officer Julio 'Jay' Ereneta, U. S. Navy (Ret.), is a thirty year career veteran of World War One and World War Two. He first flew aircrewman in August 1922; flew rearseat Radioman/Gunner (1920s/1930s) in the tactical air squadrons of the Navy's first aircraft carriers, USS LANGLEY (CV-1) and USS LEXINGTON (CV-2).

    Visit my photo album tribute to these centenarian veteran shipmates and other Pearl Harbor Survivors:

    San Diego, California