It is a day that lives in Infamy, 07 December. It is not to far into the future and all those that were there at Pearl Harbor on 07 December 1941 will have gone the way of all mankind.
I was stationed in Pearl Harbor on a nuclear powered submarine. It was an honor to have served my country and to have been in Pearl Harbor on the 50th Remembrance of that day. I don’t remember if I was on duty or if we where even actually there but I believe we were.
There are many different places to visit in Pearl Harbor that remind you of the tragedy that occurred there on that day. Some of those are much easier to see and show respect. Likely everyone that has ever been to Hawaii has been to the USS Arizona (BB39) Memorial, it is just one of those places where you have to go if you want to understand history. Personally, I find it a hard place to visit because of the emotions that I feel when I am there. Even now with the battleship USS Missouri as a floating museum moored near by it is still a very tough visit for me. I find it interesting that they still find remnants and artifacts being discovered from that event and those surrounding it in the areas and waters around Hawaii.
One of the other places was equally as emotional was the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific or Punchbowl. It is the other extinct volcanic dome that is in Honolulu. Not nearly as famous as the iconic Diamond Head that is see so often in pictures of Waikiki Beach, but it is nearly as close and much each to get to. I visited this location on or near the 5oth Remembrance and was surprised by the beauty that was there. I was again quite emotional as I walked through the Memorial and read of each of the great battles that contributed the earthly remains that were buried in the top of that volcano. I was amazed at the beauty and effort that was put into making this place of rest worthy of visiting and remembering.
I hope that if you ever get the chance to visit Oahu that you will pause from your fun and relaxation to spend some time visiting both the Arizona and Punchbowl. I think that is the least you can do for the enjoyment that is now so plentiful there. Were it not for the events of 07 December 1941 and the lives of the men and women that sacrificed all, I believe that Waikiki would not be what it is today. In fact, the world that we know today would not be what it is.
Please reflect on what you enjoy today but remember that it would likely be so much different without the sacrifice of men and women that gave their lives for the greater good. I am certain that I would not be living here in China trying to learn Chinese were it not for those ultimate sacrifices. I won’t forget their sacrifice.