Returned this week from our holiday in Oahu. We had great weather the whole time, though it did rain here and there. We’re used to that and it was 80 degrees after all.
Went to the Pearl Harbor Monument and to the USS Arizona Memorial – this was an incredibly moving experience. Before you take the boat over you watch a 20 minute movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor. I wanted my kids to understand the gravity of the entire place and that movie did it.
I love this shot – up a ladder from deep inside the sub. It’s amazing to me that men and women live on submarines in the cramped and really hot conditions.
They’ve got two museums there – the first is more general, with fun stuff about the culture of the time, some interesting displays for many of the different subs and ships that called Pearl Harbor home, that sort of thing.
They also had a museum specific to December 7 – which had pictures and live film from the day. Somber, sobering and done very well.
And then we took a boat from the site over to the USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL. I can’t really do justice to this. I took many pictures, but none of them really captures it. In the distance there’s a white building that straddles the midsection of the ship, which is still there, submerged, entombed with the bodies of the men who died that day.
It is deceptively simple. The ceiling is open in the center and you look up to see
It was a gorgeous day. And I stood with my children over the graves of people who’d danced the night before they died, trapped on a ship so very close to shore.
You can’t see the whole ship from any one place but the sky as you fly over. What you can see are bits and pieces of the ship like this. It’s a puzzle in many ways, the full impact of it is still hard to put together. But whoever designed the memorial clearly had a vision and it’s one I think was executed perfectly.
I only had the small lens with me that day, but this is at the end of the building. A huge room upon which the names of the dead are inscribed on the wall. It’s all so much it’s hard to quantify, even with numbers and that lone bone white building huddling over the carcass of the ship. But as I stood there, it was the combination of the steps that led to that last room that brought it all together.
The memorial is majestic. It’s beautiful and simple. Elegant even. I’m very glad I was there with my kids and my parents including my dad the Navy vet.
(I’ll be back with pictures of the celebratory stuff later in the week)