In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I decided to write a tribute from our trip to Pearl Harbor in May 2015.
My husband Steve and I chose O’ahu as the destination for our first anniversary because we wanted to go somewhere beautiful, relaxing… paradise. But there was another draw, and that was the history. I didn’t know much at all about Hawaiian history before we visited, but I did know I wanted to visit Pearl Harbor for the American history–the infamous history. Back before Hawaii was even a state, the islands were already being pulled into the second World War on the United States’ behalf.
What struck me about our visit to Pearl Harbor and the memorials was the fact that the sunken ships are not only still there below the waterline, but still visible and some still leaking oil. It’s as if those who lost their lives there want to remind us they’re still there, urging onlookers to remember them and their deaths.
Equally moving are the names carved into the Arizona Memorial. When I see a name, that name makes the person real. These were people with families, wives, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, buddies, nieces, nephews, etc. These were people who had hobbies, interests, faith, and fears. They probably came to Hawaii thinking it would be a cushy assignment in paradise, never thinking they’d be sitting ducks in a harbor. The world was at war, but the U.S. wasn’t at the time.
If you’ve never been to Pearl Harbor and its memorials, you should start looking at plane tickets. It’s a very moving place. There’s a reverence there for those who died, but also a sense of pride in knowing we, as Americans, pulled ourselves through such a tragedy and worked together come out on the other side stronger than ever. On this Pearl Harbor Day, a date that has and will continue to live in infamy, I hope you will take a moment to remember the men and women who lost their lives and those who responded to the uncertainty and terror with bravery.