Thursday, June 28, 2012

Remember, Understand, Honor

Those words are on a plaque standing next to the
anchor that was recovered from the USS Arizona
after she sank on Battleship Row on December 7, 1941
in Pearl Harbor.

We started out our day visiting and paying our respects to those
who gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy.

In the picture above you can see the white monument to the right
that spans over the top of the sunken Arizona.  In the middle is the
USS Missouri or the "Mighty Mo" and to the far left you can see a 
new battleship that is coming into port.
The USS New Orleans

As we stood and watched the giant ship come into port you could not help
but imagine the fiery scene that took place seventy years ago... 

As we sat there and watched these proud young men bring their 
boat into the dock a crowd started to gather and watch.
There was something very somber about a current ship of war,
docking right next to where so many lives were lost
in an act of just gave you chills.

Small conversations started while we were standing there watching...
Rick has worked on some of the parts of the ship that was docking
and Scott currently works on improving military tools...
while they were discussing all of their "work" the man you see in
this picture, wearing the plaid shirt, turned around and started talking with them.
He has served two tours in Desert Storm and his son
was currently serving on the New Orleans.
He had not seen his son for the last 10 months and had come to Hawaii
to welcome him home.  The parents were being invited on the ship later that 
evening, but he did not know what time they were going to dock.
It was just a coincidence that he was there at the right time.
He was so excited to see them come into port and could not wait to 
see his son!

Soon after we took a quick boat trip over to the Arizona Memorial

The monument spans perpendicular over the sunken wreckage
and you can still see parts of the ship just under the water. 

You can also still see oil seeping from the injured ship.

There were Veteran's on the Memorial passing out flowers to
the visitors.  We were told that we could keep the flowers or
throw them into the water in memory of those
who died on that tragic day.
Jackson chose to throw his in the water and then just sat
and watched as it floated softly in the calm waters.

On the back wall of the monument is a list of all of those who lost their
lives on the Arizona that day and the rank they held..
That day, the Arizona lost about 80% of it's crew.

The Arizona is also the final resting place for those who survived that 
day in history... these veterans have returned to their ship as their final
resting place with their fellow shipmates.

The Flag was waving ever so elegantly in the breeze overhead
as we toured the memorial.

A thankful family for the freedoms we have and the men that have
fought for our freedom and continue to fight today.

After our tour, we returned to the gift shop and purchased a book
on the events of Pearl Harbor and had the honor of meeting these two men
who were serving in Pearl Harbor on that day, so many years ago.

The man on the left is Sterling Cale.  He served in the United States Army
and had just signed out of the night shift at the shipyard dispensary.
He saw the planes coming in and thought it was just a drill and then saw
the "Rising Sun" on one of the wings and quickly realized that this was not a drill
and Pearl Harbor was under attack.  One of his jobs following the attack was to remove
the bodies of his fallen soldiers from the Arizona.

The man on the right is Alfred Rodrigues. He served in the United States Navy.
He was on duty the morning of December 7th and had just sat down to eat his breakfast
when the alarm sounded.  He was issued a gun and began shooting at the planes as they passed 
overhead.  He said they were flying so low that you could see the faces of the 
Japanese pilots as they flew by.

This is the author of the book that we purchased.
His name is Allan Seiden.
He signed the book for the boys 
"form a place touched by history"

"December 7, 1941, 
A date which will live in infamy...
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated
invasion, the American people, in their righteous might,
will win through to absolute victory"

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

I was glad we were able to visit and that Austin is old enough
to understand the impact that this place
has on the history of our Nation.

We needed to lighten the mood so we 
spent the rest of the afternoon at the 
Aloha Stadium at the weekly
Swap Meet...
Sorry, no photos were taken...
we were too busy shopping!!!

Come back tomorrow...
we're heading to the beach!

1 comment:

  1. Whoa, Nellie!!! Really sobering!!! I think to see something like that would just be too awesome for words. It's a great thing that the kids got to see something with such incredible historic value and that they got to meet those 2 gentlemen who had so proudly and bravely served. The fact that they are still alive to tell the tale is just out of this world!!! I can just imagine how delighted (and relieved!!!) that Dad was to see the ship come in with his son on it. How sweet that Jackson elected to pay tribute to the memory of those lives lost!

    Thanks for stopping by my place earlier today. I hope you and the family have a wonderful & safe holiday!