Day Three: Pearl Harbor

No doubt, the number one objective for our trip to Hawaii was to attend the wedding of Betsy’s nephew. While in Hawaii, there are many options to consider for sight seeing. However, only one place was on my must see list for a visit—Pearl Harbor.

So on Thursday, December 2, our third day in Hawaii, we had a 1 p.m. slot to take the short boat ride over to the USS Arizona Memorial. With our son-in-law, Doug, driving us, we left Waialua early enough so that we could tour the grounds and exhibits at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

Photo by Bill Pike

Thursday was a beautiful, sunny, warm day in Honolulu. The sky was a stunning shade of deep blue.

The Visitor’s Center has been nicely developed with wide sidewalks, manicured grounds, and quality exhibits that tell the story of Pearl Harbor with words, photographs, real artifacts, and filmed interviews.

Visitors quickly learn about the importance of time as they take in the exhibits and displays. The destruction that occurred on that fateful Sunday morning had been timed out to perfection by the Japanese leaders.

Throughout our visit, I found guests to be interested, engaged in absorbing the information presented, and respectful with a quiet dignity as they moved about the grounds.

National Park Service employees are friendly and willing to take questions. The shuttle boat ride to the Arizona Memorial is well organized and communication is effective.

And for me, the visit to the USS Arizona Memorial served as a sad reminder—war is horrible. The wall that lists the names of all who died on the Arizona from the attack is all the confirmation I needed.

Today, Tuesday, December 7, 2021 marks the 80th anniversary of the attack.

I think to myself what have we learned about ourselves during those eighty years?

Personally, I know we must always confront evil intruders. World War II and 911 affirm this.

But, I wonder why can’t we exist in peace with each other?

Why is this so hard for us to achieve?

Maybe, our hearts are not fully committed to do the hard work required to achieve peace.

My old heart tells me that our stubbornness and our inability to trust prevents us from making peace.

At assorted points along the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center are several beautifully displayed quotes.

My favorite is from Radioman Third Class Warren Verhoff from the USS Keosangua: “I will never forget.”

Sailor Verhoff was correct.

We should never forget.

Yet somehow, we must find in our hearts the pursuit to build a framework for peace—a lasting peace.

Failing to pursue peace will only lead us to more heartbreaking memorials.

Flag at the USS Arizona Memorial Photo by Bill Pike

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