Day 7 — Pearl harbor — 8/4
The morning started early as we had to be on the bus ready to go at 7:15 AM. Hey folks, we’re supposed to be on vacation and sleep late! Well we wake up early I guess because we’re 6 hours from home so 6 AM is noon at home. We were rewarded by getting up early with a double rainbow! The second one doesn’t show up too good but we were thankful for it anyway.
On the way to our first stop we went by a long lost relative's real estate company.
Our first stop was the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific which lies in Punchbowl Crater. We just rode through and stopped long enough to take pictures. The view out over the city was good from here and you could see over the city to the ocean. All day today was about the military and the sacrifices that our veterans make for all of us so we have the freedom to come to places like this.
After that we went through the city and saw the state capital, governor’s mansion , and the only royal palace in the United States — Iolani Palace.
We then headed over to Pearl Harbor’s Ford Island to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum. We saw a lot of vintage WWII aircraft and history. We had about two and a half hours to visit, so we had our lunch at the museum.
Next it was off to visit the USS Missouri, a 60,000 ton destroyer that served as the platform for the “Surrender Deck”. The Surrender Deck is where General MacArthur accepted the unconditional Japanese surrender that ended World War II. Quite a bit of history packed into one day and we aren’t through yet.
We then headed to the most visited memorial and most visited place in Hawaii — The USS Arizona memorial. If you want to visit it plan ahead because tickets can be hard to get if you just walk up to get them. You could get there in the morning and find out your tour was at 3 or 4 in the afternoon or not available at all that day. We were lucky we were on tour so that was taken care of for us. Even then our group had to split up to two different times. At the USS Arizona memorial there’s a lot to see and do. They have the USS Bowfin submarine known as the “Pearl Harbor Avenger”. Talk about tight quarters-WOW! You can also visit the museum that is fairly new. The highlight of the day is the 75 Minute trip to the Memorial. It starts with an actual movie showing the attack on Pearl Harbor and then a launch ride over to the Memorial. The whole experience is very humbling and solemn. They are very strict on what you can take and also do not allow phone conversations or texting while on tour. They ask you to be reverent and talk quietly and show respect. The launches take 150 people at a time and runs every 15 minutes.
We want to give thanks to God for our safe travels again today and also to all service personnel past, present, and future. They have and will fight to give us all the freedoms we enjoy so we don’t take them for granted. This trip is a sobering experience and I am so happy that Nancy and I could take it together.
After arriving back at our hotel we met Nancy’s cousin Kathy for dinner. She has been a gracious host to us while we have been here and we hope to repay the favor to her sometime in S.C. As usual we ended the day with another beautiful Hawaii sunset!