Welcome to another edition of Photo Friday! Have y’all had a good week? We are back at school, which is exciting and terrifying all that the same time. A brand new school year! So much potential, so much possibility. I think it’s going to be good one, but then again, that’s how I feel about the every school year.
Even though I’ve been home from my summer travels for a month and a half, I’m still working on editing all the photos. I think I’ve probably got another month of Photo Friday posts to share with you. This week I’m bringing you the whirlwind day we spent at Pearl Harbor.
When you tour Pearl Harbor, there are many options for your exploration. Most people are aware of the USS Arizona Memorial, and that is the big draw for most visitors. There are many other sites at the World War II Valor in the Pacific site.
One of those is the USS Bowfin. I suppose I didn’t realize that submarines played such a vital role in World War II nor did I realize that assignment to a submarine could be a death sentence. In the above photo, you can see both the USS Bowfin and memorials to all the submarines that were lost during the war.
It was amazing to me to see how many men lost their lives on the subs. As you walk the spiral and read each memorial, you get a sense of the bravery that it must have taken to say, “I’ll be a submariner.” Approximately 3700 men lost their lives on 52 sunken submarines during the war.
We didn’t actually make it on to the USS Bowfin although we did tour the submarine museum.
USS Arizona Memorial
While it can be argued that the USS Arizona Memorial is the main draw for a Pearl Harbor tour, while we were in Hawaii, the actual memorial itself was closed for repair and cleaning. I believe they told us that they were working to make the docking area more accessible to those who are disabled.
We were able to watch the brief film about the Arizona and then take the boat out and around the memorial site. It is humbling in the extreme. The men who died aboard the Arizona are still there. They remain entombed in their ship. If water can be sacred, the water of Pearl Harbor is sacred.
One of the crew members on our tour boat told us that on December 7, 2015, the remains of a 100 year old Arizona crew member were re-interred with his fellow shipmates. We were also told that currently there are 6 remaining men who formerly served on the Arizona. Of those 6, at least half have expressed a desire to have their remains placed in the Arizona so they can finally rejoin their brothers as their separation has been too long and too painful. It chokes me up thinking about it. Nearly 1200 men died aboard their ship; a little over 300 survived.
Even without having been able to truly visit the Memorial, it was a sobering experience. When you hear that survivors want to be returned to their brothers, the sense of sacrifice and camaraderie is overwhelming. When you learn that approximately 2 gallons of fuel leak from the sunken Arizona each day and that there remains enough fuel to continue to leak for decades, you feel the continuing sense of loss and tragedy.
Another site that you can tour at Pearl harbor is the USS Missouri, also known as the Mighty Mo. Since we are from Missouri, touring the Missouri was a given. The Missouri is docked at permanent rest near the Arizona. For the United States, World War II essentially began with the attack on Pearl Harbor, which is symbolized by the USS Arizona Memorial. World War II ended on the deck of the USS Missouri. The two ships rest near each other – symbolic bookends to our war experience.
While we were at Pearl Harbor, we also toured the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, but I didn’t take many pictures there. Being inside and having very staged displays didn’t feel like it lent themselves to memorable photos. It was interesting to know, though, that on the morning of the Japanese attack, there were actually civilian planes in the air. There was no discrimination between the military and civilian planes.
I almost feel like that in order to do Pearl Harbor justice, you need to be there for two days. It’s the same feeling that Sweet Husband and I have about the National World War II museum in New Orleans. There is so much; it’s so massive; it’s so overwhelming; it’s so sacred. We were barely able to scratch the surface in our day there. It feels like a place where you want to invest time. The next time we are in Hawaii, we want to make sure that it’s a time when the Arizona Memorial is open, and we want to be able to spend time in all the places that we didn’t get to fully experience.
A friend of mine said that he believes every American needs to go to Pearl Harbor. As a person who comes from a long tradition of military service, with a cousin in the Navy and two in the Air Force, I can definitely say that it was a moving experience. I am infinitely glad that there are people who are willing to put themselves in harms way for me, and I honor their sacrifice.
I’ve been to a bunch of National Parks and museums because I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to those things. I’d have to say that Pearl Harbor is on par with the National Holocaust museum for me. Have you been to Pearl Harbor? Or another site like Pearl Harbor? Let’s talk about the in the comments!
Welcome to another edition of the Photo Friday link-up! I’m so excited to see what you have for us this week!
Our most viewed link last week came from Lydia at Where the Wild Things Were who took us on a whale-watching tour in Sydney. It looks like they had a blast!
Our final entry last week came from The World According to Eve. She takes us with her to Yale for an experience with the Ambassador Leaders. If you missed her post – or any of the other ones that were added after yours – consider going back and taking a look, although I must say that y’all did a great job of visiting each other! Thank you for that; it’s what makes this such an awesome link-up!
Without further ado, it’s time for this week’s party! Let’s get to it!