Today, in Hawaii, the flags fly at half-mast. 70 years ago today, 2,388 men and women were killed in the attacks on Pearl Harbor. 12 ships were sunk, including the USS Arizona, on which 1,177 of those men died. Living on these waters has always been fascinating as I've come to know the story and details of that day. This morning, Chris and I were honored to be able to attend the 70th anniversary memorial ceremony. We heard many important people speak, but most notable was Mal Middlesworth, a sprite 87 year old survivor of the attacks that day. My own great-uncle was on board the USS Case that day and died just a few years ago. It makes me wish I has had a chance to sit down and ask him to share his story with me.
At exactly 7:55am, the 19th Fighter Squadron flew over the Arizona Memorial in the missing man formation. Minutes later, I kid you not, a rainbow formed over the Memorial. It gave me chills. I'm so glad we decided to wake up before the sun this morning and attend the last ceremony where the survivors will be represented by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. It's our last year here in Hawaii and the patriotism and remembrance of this morning made my heart swell with pride and sorrow, at the same time.
Last week, I finished a book that completely changed my perspective on the attacks and the deep waters outside our door. It's called Descent into Darkness and it's written by Ed Raymer, a Navy diver who arrived the day after the attacks to rescue survivors and salvage the ships that sunk in the dark, murky waters of Pearl Harbor. (You find it on Amazon here. ) I laughed, cried, cringed and cheered, and then I talked to Chris for a week about how I wished I could meet the author. It is now one of my very favorite books and I think everyone should read it, especially this week.
Have you had a chance to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial?