A Visit from Sacramento to Honor, Respect and Remember Pearl Harbor
Like any self-absorbed, snotty-nosed kid learning about Pearl Harbor and World War II in school, much of it didn’t have a huge effect on me. Anne Frank was my connection to WWII. She resonated. But the general stuff about war did not. An uncle in the Navy sent me Japanese dolls from Okinawa, but I wasn’t allowed to play with them, so they resided on a shelf in my bedroom until one day I took them all apart and could not reassemble. Worse than a Rubik’s cube, those kimonos.
Now, when I reflect on Pearl Harbor, I realize it happened 11 years before I was born. That wasn’t that long ago. It had seemed like such ancient history at the time I was introduced. However, there are people alive today who saw it happen, who were there in person. It means so much more to me now. School is wasted on the young, I swear.
The last time I was in Honolulu was 1978, apart from the numerous times I’ve changed planes to take off for another island from Oahu. I had a chance to see Pearl Harbor in 1978, but I didn’t go. It didn’t seem like a high priority to me. So, the main reason for the stopover in Honolulu on this trip is to see Pearl Harbor. Now, it’s like a calling, and I had to go, no matter what.
One of my clients who is selling a home in Roseville lives in Honolulu and said she would take me to Pearl Harbor. But she didn’t get back to me until I was actually stepping on the bus, and then it was too late anyway. I’m glad I didn’t wait for her, but I don’t wait for anybody these days. If I want to do something, I just do it, and nothing gets in my way.
At the Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center, we were shown a movie of actual war footage. This was no Quentin Tarantino. This was real. It made me cry. Air raid sirens. Newscasts. Roosevelt. Bombs blowing up. Soldiers lying face down barefoot in the water, dead. Then we boarded a barge that transported us a short distance to the site of the USS Arizona Memorial. The battleship lies under the shallow water, and there is a memorial constructed on top, straddling it. The Arizona is not the only sunken battleship in Pearl Harbor today.
Honestly, the following statement is meant with the most respect, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Memorial reminds me somewhat of a portal key from Ingress. I was astonished at the similarities. See illustration on this page. It meant a lot to me, as goofy as it might sound, that my faction controls the portals on the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. I deployed a couple of resonators as upgrades and added a few mods. That was my contribution to the Memorial. Then I linked the two together. I made sure nobody saw me lest I would offend somebody because they thought that I was not honoring the fallen heroes, but I was showing my respect in a different way which they undoubtedly would not understand if they spotted it.
There is a wall at the very back of the Memorial that was dedicated in November of 2014, just last month. It contains the names inscribed in marble of those who died there, and their ranking in the service. I thought it was too bad they couldn’t find enough room to include the first names; instead it is initials and a last name. Most likely results of a committee. A great effort, though, and a meaningful tribute. You can feel the energy in this room, and the hearts that mourn. It’s an emotional experience that is very difficult to put into words. It’s serene and peaceful.
I shot photos of the ship under the water and many of the wall until I was satisfied with the angles. All these brave people died without cause or reason: soldiers, marines, airmen, and civilians. Our tour guide says money is at the root of all war.
On another note, almost every guest at my hotel hails from Japan.