Pearl Harbor

More than anything else in Hawaii, I wanted to be ready for going to Pearl Harbor. “Ready” as in, I spent the last six weeks reading books, researching, watching documentaries and old movies about World War 2 and America’s entry into the global war. I’ve always enjoyed history (though not always the war aspect), and I wanted to get as much out of it as I could. 
Radar Equipment 
As it turns out, it wasn’t really what I was expecting. Maybe watching all the movies and documentaries somehow convinced my mind that it would be like it was back then. (My little brother must have had the same exceptions as me, because he was freaking out wondering what he was supposed to do when we got attacked. We had to reassure him that it wasn’t going to happen.) 
Model of the sunken USS Arizona, with the monument overtop of it. 
I felt as if we were rushed most of the time. I’m not sure if it’s just the writer in me, but I wanted to stand over the USS Arizona with my eyes closed and see what the men would have seen back then. (Even though the guys on the USS Arizona never really got to see anything because they were killed instantly.)
We went to the monument in a boat.
There are around 900 men still entombed within the walls of the USS Arizona. When they tried to open up the ship so the men could be buried, there were explosions from the oil, so they had to abandoned the plan. 
Part of the USS Arizona with oil still leaking out

 Oil still bubbles up each day. If the oil continues coming up at this rate, I think they said it would take around fifty years for it to all surface. People throw flowers into the water, if you look carefully, you can see the petals.

More of the USS Arizona 
About a half an hour before Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Japanese ambassador was supposed to let America know that Japan was declaring war on them. Only, the ambassador took too long to decode the message, and so he didn’t end up declaring war until 55 minutes after the attack began. Therefore, America was attacked without warning and when we were supposedly negotiating peace agreements with Japan. 

The attack helped rally Americans and the words “Remember Pearl Harbor!” became well-known.

The names of the men who died

 If you haven’t studied WW2 a lot, I strongly suggest that you do. It’s an amazing trove of history. I’m so thankful for the people who have given their lives for our country.

Other boats were also sunk also, just none of them as badly as the USS Arizona 
It was an awing experience being in the same waters that the attack took place in. The park rangers there told us to remember that it was a solemn area and to be very respectful. Pictures were allowed to be taken, but no goofing off or silly pictures. No loud talking. No jokes. We were supposed to be quiet and really think about the magnitude of what had happened. 
I’m not sure how long we were on the monument (over the USS Arizona) for, but I don’t think I said a single word the whole time. I just looked, took pictures, and thought. At one point in time I closed my eyes for a few minutes and just pictured everything that had happened. A plane (or helicopter?) flew overhead as my eyes were closed, and that just added to the whole feeling. 
Punch Bowl Cemetery 

After Pearl Harbor, we went to the cemetery where a lot of military people are buried. As strange as it may sound, it was a very beautiful place.   

28 thoughts on “Pearl Harbor

  1. FunTó says:

    I enjoyed studying WWII too. It was a topic that kept coming up in high school (but I'd actually been into it since the seventh grade when I read Anne Frank and other WWII books). It's all extremely sad and solemn and most times I try to imagine what ppl would've been thinking back then. How sad they would've been. It gave birth to about two WWII novels I plan to write in the future. I'd like to visit Pearl Harbor and Auschwitz (although I think I might just break down in tears if I visit the latter).
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Tell the World

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  2. Sandy says:

    Beautiful post. It's really the only thing I'd really like to see in Hawaii, as we've visited many cemeteries and memorials as we travel. I love history and am please you took time to read up on it before hand. I'm glad to hear the Rangers keep people quiet. I was affronted while standing along side President Kennedy's grave, and The Tomb of Unknown Solider in Arlington National Cemetery, as people behaved so badly.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    WWII and Civil War history are the two I have studied the most. It's amazing – and I wish I could have been there when that plane flew over your head. With yours eyes closed, I can only imagine the feeling!

    Rebecca

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