Postcard from Hawaii - IX - Pearl Harbor & The End of Paradise

At the entrance to Pearl Harbor
The inevitable day of departure had finally arrived. We had one more day in Paradise and then it would be a big silver bird back home - jobs to go to, laundry to do, groceries to buy, bills to pay, and a yard in desperate need of mowing.  But that silver bird would not be leaving until late afternoon, just enough time to tour Pearl Harbor and pay our respects to the men who gave their lives there.

After Trip Report - Was it expensive? For a middle-class family of 3 staying in upper-class hotels right on the beach with ocean view rooms, with the helicopter and submarine tours and the nice souvenirs we brought back, sure it was relatively expensive, but we used frequent-flyer miles and hotel loyalty points to help reduce the cost. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Would we do it again? Absolutely! It was a fabulous trip, we have wonderful memories, and our daughter will cherish the memories of our family vacation to Hawaii for the rest of her life. You only live once and you can't put a price on the good feelings and cherished memories that will always bring a smile to your face. In my humble opinion, that, my friend, is more valuable than gold!

On the grounds of Pearl Harbor

The Arizona Memorial is positioned over the sunken remains
of the Battleship Arizona. The memorial straddles the ship,

but does not touch it. The high ends and the depression in the
middle of the structure signify the high American pride before
the war, the depression of America after the attack on Pearl
Harbor and the rise of American power after the war. There
are 7 windows or openings in the middle to commemorate the
date of the attack.  
To get to the memorial, you have to take a water taxi. Over
1 million people visit the memorial every year. 

1,102 men are still entombed under the water in the wreck of
the U.S.S. Arizona, almost 1/2 of all fatalities from the attack.
All 21 members of the ship's band were killed and remain buried
within the ship. Upon their death, survivors stationed on the ship
that day are allowed to have their cremated  remains entombed
with their fellow crewmen. As of 2012, there are 31 urns which
have been  placed on the ship below the water by Navy divers.  
Youngest-daughter reading the marble shrine where names of
the sailors and marines killed on the Arizona are inscribed.
There were 37 pairs or trios of brothers who were stationed
on the Arizona. Of those 77 men, 62 were killed. 23 sets of
brothers died. Only 1 set of brothers survived. Ken Wariner

was in San Diego attending flight school that day. His brother
Russell Wariner was severely wounded, but lived. 1 father
and son pair were stationed on the ship. Both the father
and son died.

Gun turret of the U.S.S. Arizona. The day before the attack,
the ship took on a full load of fuel, 1.5 million gallons. An
estimated 1 million gallons was lost due to ruptured tanks
and fires on the day of the attack. There is still almost 1/2

million gallons left. About 8 - 9 quarts still escape every day.
The oil that floats on the surface of the water around the ship
is referred to as "the tears of the Arizona" or "black tears."
We had just finished our visit to the memorial and returned
to land when a modern Navy aircraft carrier pulled into port.
It was a reminder to me of the 3 years I served on a carrier

and the times my ship pulled into Pearl. It was interesting
to see the process from this point of view for a change!  

At the airport waiting for our homeward-bound plane. Getting
snacks for the flight, Youngest-daughter (jokingly) decided she
wanted a package of Mentos candy to drop into her coke to see
if it would shoot fiz into the air like the rumors say. I told her
she might better re-think that. Funny girl.