Day 3…Pearl Harbor

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Hawaii was to visit Pearl Harbor. I wanted to pay my respects to those who fought and died for our country and to learn first hand what had happened that tragic day.

They have done a beautiful job with the visitor center. The grounds are kept immaculate and there is a reverence felt by everyone. 
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Before you take the Navy Shuttle Boat Ride over to the USS Arizona Memorial, they show you a short film with actual footage from the Pearl Harbor Attack. It was heart wrenching. I cried…..

There were several warnings that came before the attack happened. But because of human error of one kind or another the Japanese were successful in their efforts against us.

The USS Arizona Memorial marks the resting place of
1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the USS AZ during the attack on Pearl
Harbor on December 7, 1941 by Japanese imperial forces and
commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island
of O’ahu was
the action that led to United States involvement in World War II.

The 184-foot long structure has two peaks at each end
connected by a sag in the center of the structure. It represents the height of
American pride before the war, the sudden depression of a nation after the
attack and the rise of American power to new heights after the war. 

Nothing really prepares you for what you see at the Memorial. The USS AZ is massive in size, and it is almost completely submerged underwater, rusting and riddled with decay. She’s laid in her final resting place for 70 years now. She stands not only as reminder to those few that are left who have come through the war, but also to us who have been blessed by those who have fought for our freedom then, and now. She is also more than a reminder of the events of that terrifying day. She is a tomb for those soldiers who were not fortunate enough to escape the warfare. 
At the visitors center they have recorded several soldiers who were there that day recounting their stories of survival and the stories of the their fellow men that did not make it. They witnessed horrifying sights, sounds, and smells…These men and women will never forget. Nor should we.

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This is the map of the ship and memorial. The memorial surrounds the ship. It does not actually touch the  ship.

 Base of Gun Turret No.3

Oil leaking from the sunken battleship can still be seen
rising from the wreckage to the surface of the water. This oil is sometimes
referred to as “the tears of the Arizona” or “black
tears.” It is also said she won’t stop leaking oil until the last
survivor passes on.

As you walk to the end of the Memorial you enter a room filled with the names of those who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. As you read one name after another after another you begin to think about how they were sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. They each had plans, hopes and dreams beyond the stations they held on that day. My heart aches for every one of them. 

Remember…the U.S. did not join WW II until December 8th, 1941, the day “after” the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, HI was bombed by the Japanese Navy. On December 11, 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S. 

My Grandfather Robert K. Morrison was sent to Pearl Harbor the day we declared war on Dec. 8th, the day after the the attack. He was also at the Battle of Midway.

Some of the servicemen that survived Pearl Harbor have later requested that at their passing they would like to be interred with their shipmates. Here you can see one of the men that recently passed and his wishes were granted. The sense of brotherhood pierces my soul.

Behind us you can see the USS Missouri Battleship. More on this ship to come.

A better view. 

This is the view heading back to the visitor center from the Memorial.

Seconds after we took this picture the boat hit a good size wave which went over the top of the boat and SOAKED the first half of the passengers. Jared and I still got a good spraying but nothing like the poor folks and baby at the front!! Poor little baby…he was NOT happy!

The next portion of our tour took us overthe Admiral Clarey Bridge to Ford Island to the USS
As you approach you see these poles lined up together and a
sign for the USS Oklahoma.  The memorial’s black granite walls
suggest the once formidable hull of the Oklahoma while the white
standards (poles) represent its lost Marines and Sailors.
Each perfectly aligned marble standard symbolizes an individual in
pristine white dress uniform, inspired from the naval tradition of
‘manning the rails.’ In full dress whites the ship’s crew stand at attention
along the rails or in the rigging of the ship to display respect and
honor. The marble standards of this memorial stand perfectly
straight, ‘manning the rails’ of the Oklahoma, forever. 

Since 9/11 you know how security has been heightened just to fly…Well, multiply that by 10 when you go visit Pearl Harbor/USS Missouri. Our tour guide sufficiently scared the pants off of us if we were even ‘thinking’ about breaking one of the rules. Don’t even think about bringing a bag of ANY kind!!
I love all the U.S. flags in front of the ship! So patriotic! 😀


The kiss that sealed the end of WWII. Edith Shain, dressed in her white nurse’s uniform, being dipped and kissed by a jubilant U.S. sailor as V-J Day celebrations roar around them. The image by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt became one of the most famous photos of the WWII era, and was published in Life magazine.

But the young nurse’s identity was a mystery until the
1970s, when Shain wrote the photographer and said she was the nurse
in the photo, taken on Aug. 14, 1945, while she was working at the Doctor’s
Hospital in New York City. The sailor’s identity is still unknown. 

Aboard the USS Missouri.

Born in the midst of World War II, the shipyard workers at
Brooklyn’s New York Navy Yard constructed the battleship in time for her launch
on January 29, 1944 and commissioning as the USS Missouri on June 11,
1944 with Capt. William M. Callaghan in command.

From here you can see the USS AZ Memorial in the background. Memorial
staff initially criticized the placement of the Missouri, saying the large
battleship would “overshadow” the Arizona Memorial. To help
guard against this perception Missouri was placed well back of
the Arizona Memorial, and positioned in Pearl Harbor in such a way as
to prevent those participating in military ceremonies on Missouri’s aft
decks from seeing the Arizona Memorial. The decision to have Missouri’s
bow face the Arizona Memorial was intended to convey that Missouri now
watches over the remains of the battleship Arizona so that those
interred within Arizona’s hull may rest in peace. These measures have
helped preserve the individual identities of the Arizona Memorial and
theMissouri Memorial, which has improved the public’s perception
of having both Arizona and Missouri in the same harbor.
Those guns you see on the USS Missouri have a 14″
barrel. That is mighty BIG! They said it took 100 men to lift, load and man
each gun!!!! The shells weighed more than a VW Bug!

The spot where they signed the document that officially ended the war.
The USS Missouri is ENORMOUS! They told us you could be on the ship for 16 hours straight and still not see the entire ship!!!

It’s our tradition to take at least one smooching picture on our vacation! 😛

 Oh and a tip for you future travelers…They were going to charge us $40.00 for this picture at the site. It did come with several prints and a magnet..Woohoo! LOL! We looked at it and debated if we should shell out that kind of cash for nerdy pic. We left and were planning to go back to get it but my foot was just NOT holding out that day so we left. We later looked online to see if we could order it. was only $15.00 online! So if you have to have your cheezy tourist pics like we do…check the website before you pay at the location! 😛 

The next part of the tour took us through the city as we
were going over to The Punch Bowl Cemetary. On our way our guide pointed
out that pink building in the center. It is the Tripler Army Medical
Center. There are a few stories as to why the building color is pink. Some say the
architect came into Wood’s office one day and said it was time to select the
color for the hospital. Wood said he looked out his window at the red dirt on
the then-undeveloped Moanalua Ridge and said, “You’ve got to get
it as close to that color as you can because that’s the color it will be when
you’re through.” Other’s have said it was a form of camouflage. No
other country would suspect a military hospital to be painted pink!

King Kalakaua was succeeded by his sister Lili’uokalani. She
stepped down from the throne in 1893 because of political reasons. In
1895,Hawaiian royalists tried to restore Queen Lili`uokalani to power. However
this resulted in the queen’s arrest. She was forced to sign a document of
abdication that relinquished all her future claims to the throne. 
Convicted of having knowledge of a royalist plot,
Lili`uokalani was fined $5000 and sentenced to five years in prison at hard
labor. The sentence was commuted to imprisonment in an upstairs bedroom of
`Iolani Palace.
During her imprisonment, the queen was denied any visitors
other than one lady in waiting. She began each day with her daily devotions
followed by reading, quilting, crochet-work, or music composition.
After her release from `Iolani Palace, the Queen remained
under house arrest for five months at her private home, Washington Place. For
another eight months she was forbidden to leave O`ahu before all restrictions
were lifted.
If you look closely at the windows on the second level on the right they are
covered with paper. That is where she served her sentence.

The Punchbowl National Cemetery. It was built
in 1948 to serve as a resting place for 25,000 soldiers of the American Armed
Forces who lost their lives during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam
The 116-acre cemetery is situated in an extinct volcano,
named Pouwaina, which means “consecrated hill” or “hill of sacrifice” in
the Hawaiian language. In the past, Punchbowl was the site of “alii” (royal)

776 casualties from the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl
Harbor were among the first to be buried here.
I love learning about our history. Jared and I both came away humbled and grateful for being able to experience these places in person. My heart goes out to the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our country and the freedoms we enjoy each and every day!

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