Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paying our respects...

Of all the sites on the island of Oahu that pleases the senses, entertains the eyes and refreshes the spirit....we knew one sight-seeing expedition would do more.

We spent the morning at Pearl Harbor. As we toured the museum -- seeing faces of people we might have met here in the days before the attack and reading historical documents, news reports and so much more -- I was overcome with how those young people must have felt. They were stationed in paradise! The weather was perfect, the scenery amazing and frankly, we as a Nation were fairly confident...cocky, if you will...that no one would dare attack us on our soil. (I obviously did not live through this season of American history...these musings were made after walking through the museum...)

The beauty of Pearl Harbor

I get it. I would have been content swinging from a hammock beneath these trees and thanking my lucky stars that I was here!

Anchor of the U.S.S. Arizona....
 But the men and women stationed in Pearl Harbor the morning of December 7, 1941 were not on a sight-seeing jaunt. They were protecting our shores. They were standing in the gap -- the Pacific Ocean -- between would-be enemies and our beloved United States of America. And that fateful morning, they were taken completely by surprise. The warning signs had been missed for all practical purposes and before our guys knew what was happening the sky was filled with planes with specially-designed torpedoes to take out our ships.

Twenty-one of our ships were disabled that morning. 21. But our attackers underestimated the tenacity of the American people. Did you know that all but THREE were rescued, refurbished and PUT BACK INTO ACTION in World War II???


The U.S.S. Arizona was not one of those, however. And the vessel named for our home state, remains where she was sunk, at the bottom of the harbor. So many lost their lives when they went down with her that fateful morning. Young men willing to die for our freedom.

The memorial at the U.S.S. Arizona
 She cries for those lives today -- in the oil that even 70 plus years later, still leaks from her injuries.

The oil that leaks even today from the U.S.S. Arizona is considered to be the tears of the vessel for the crew entombed within its walls and lying on the floor of this harbor.

And yet, our flag still flies. This view from the Memorial gives me chills. Because it is THIS VIEW that says, "You hurt us. You took the lives of far too many that day. BUT YOU DID NOT WIN." That is our red, white and blue waving proudly.

The flag flies over the U.S.S. Arizona with special permission -- the only inactive ship to have this honor, I believe.

Feeling grateful. Feeling sad. Feeling American...

We are blessed to be Americans. And in this day, when so few of our WWII veterans remain, I beg you to educate your children, tell them about the acts of heroism that occurred on December 7, 1941. Tell them about the heroes that rushed to enlist on December 8, 1941. Tell them, lest we as a nation forget.

Tell them, so they can be grateful.


The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Our Congressional leaders need to take that tour, and pronto. I'm staggered by your vision and words. The "tears of the vessel" brought tears of my own. Thank you for sharing this, dear. Amazing.