Monday, October 17, 2011

Hawaii | Day 2

We decided to spend the first full day in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor and the surrounding area.  It was surreal.  I have to tell you that in all my 37 years of living I hadn't truly learned about Pearl Harbor - the grit of it, the down-dirty reality, we're talking.  You know - "the rest of the story" kind of thing.

For instance, did you know oil seeps from the ship (the USS Arizona), droplets at a time, and are known as the ship's "tears" - weeping for the men buried within her, who lost their lives in a battle they didn't expect?

Do you see the black dots on the picture?  Those are the oily tears I'm talking about.

Or did you know you can still see the smoke stacks of the ship above the water?

This photo is standing on the USS Arizona Memorial.

Can I tell you I had no idea?

According to :
The natural beauty of Hawaii—volcanic mountains, lush vegetation, and crystal water—should be Pearl Harbor’s main attraction, and it would be, if not for December 7, 1941. Instead, the island of Oahu’s stunning scenery has become merely the backdrop for the USS Arizona Memorial, a hallowed historic site that reminds us that 2,390 Americans died on a balmy morning 65 years ago when Japan attacked seven military sites in and around the harbor. Twenty-one ships were sunk or damaged, including the battleship Arizona. At 8:06 a.m., a 1,760-pound bomb slammed into the Arizona’s forward decks and ignited 500 tons of explosives in the powder magazine. She sank in nine minutes and burned for two days. A total of 1,177 men died on board, the greatest death toll ever on a US warship. Only 229 bodies were recovered. The rest remain entombed in the wreckage.     
Did you even know "Pearl Harbor" - really the USS Arizona Memorial - is actually a sunken ship?

Do you see it in the picture there?  And just so I make this a public statement, my husband, my FIL, my mother, and my first boyfriend (now a US Naval Officer) are currently dying of embarrassment over my sheer and utter ignorance.  But I remain adamant that I cannot be the only American out there who did not know this.  (And that is indeed part of the problem in our country, I have no doubt...)

Aside from "Pearl Harbor" - site of the beginning of the United States' involvement in WWII - I admit I didn't know much, feel much, or think much about it.  I am horrifiably ashamed to admit that.  As stated above, this spot is so much more that just a pretty picture...although a beautiful picture reminder it is:

It is a place where silence is required and given unequivocally.   I am so grateful to have spent time there.  To have taken in the scenery and read the words, telling me moment by moment what happened and how we responded and what happened after. 

May they rest in peace.

I do so appreciate the manner in which this national monument has been memorialized.  My children listened to age appropriate audio about this site.  They stopped and listened, pondered, and walked along the path, undoubtedly understanding more than I did until I was 37 years old.


We toured more of Pearl Harbor by visiting the missile graveyard, having ice cream, and eventually deciding to also tour the USS Bowfin.  Sara was not old enough, however, so Dad accompanied the big kids on a separate adventure: states:  "Within hours of the surprise attack, young men in steel tubes took the war to the enemy, using defective torpedoes against overwhelming odds.  They triumphed and endured high losses."

We also toured the USS Missouri - which seemed mandatory, given our home state ;)

Pictured here in the background of the USS Arizona Memorial.

Here's a lil photo tip.  When photographing your subject in a scene - perhaps that scene being giant gun turrets that dwarf their little selves, bring the subject(s) close to the camera.  Because, even though they look pretty small here - and I still should have brought them closer to the camera with the frame of the photo encapsulating the scene of the guns, they are still identifiable.  Unlike in this photo:

Those are some Big Guns.

Mandatory cute photos of tired children who still smile for their mommabe photographer:

His brother smiles exactly like this.

And her sister spends more and more time just like this --- just like I did starting in fourth grade, too!

We ended our day at the Hard Rock Cafe, just off the strip and Waikiki Beach. 

Interestingly, this photo was taken by a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K participant who ran that morning in honor of her sister - a breast cancer survivor.  We had seen the race from our window in the hotel encircling the Honolulu Zoo and had been curious as to what was happening with all the orange flags and runners.  Wish we would have known - perhaps we could have participated!  Except what to do with the kids while we ran...

Eh - they really are pretty self-entertaining.

The day ended with Matt bringing home a pair of drumsticks from Hard Rock and Pooks stopping by the hotel's gift shop to snag this one-of-a-kind ukelele.


The end of Day 2 only meant the beginning of more great adventures Day 3!

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