Wednesday, December 7, 2011

remembering pearl harbor.


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? 



lindsay



23 comments:

  1. We were in Hawaii almost a year ago and today made me look through the photos of when we visited Perl Harbor and I appreciate the memories we made being there even more. I could not even imagine how today felt being there.

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  2. Last night I found myself wishing I could speak to my grandma, who passed away years ago, on her experiences that day as well. She was at home and I remember her talking to me briefly, but then I was too young to really grasp what she was saying. Because of the attack, my grandpa ended up joining the 442nd, and although I never got to meet him, I'm so proud.

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  3. Haven't been to that island yet..but will definitely make it a point to visit the memorial. What an honor to be there today. Great post. You made me want to run out and buy that book.

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  4. This is great, Linds. I'm so glad you did this this morning. How special. And THANKS for the book recommendation - I'll definitely check it out!!

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  5. I haven't been able to get to Hawaii yet, but I know what you mean about ceremonies like that. My university holds Muster every year and it always gives me chills (and makes me cry). So glad you went!

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  6. I've never been to the memorial myself but my dad took my grandpa there a few years before he died and I know it was a really important trip for both of them.

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  7. I visited the memorial this past February. My sister in law lives on Ford Island. She told me how the bridge was closed today, for all of the ceremonies. I can imagine it was a moving day to be there. Love your post and I will most likely buy the book you mentioned here. I also just finished Unbroken, and it's a great book too.

    :)

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  8. I have. When my husband was stationed in Hawaii, we visited it often. It is such a wonderful memorial. A really special place.

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  9. I've only spent a really short time on Oahu, so I didn't get to see the Memorial , but it's on my list for next time I come back to Hawaii!

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  10. This is so beautiful love! So cool to read it from the opinion of someone who lives there.

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  11. This was a great post Lindsay. Thank you so much for sharing it and it was written beautifully!

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  12. Thank you for sharing your experience today! What an honor and privilege to be at the ceremony!!

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  13. I haven't been to the Arizona Memorial since I was in elementary school I think! Glad you had the opportunity to attend the ceremony today, I can only imagine how emotional it must've been.

    My great-grandmother saw the Japanese planes flying overhead, and I never got to talk to her about it before she passed on. I wish I had.

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  14. I was very fortunate to visit Pearl Harbor when I was in Hawaii. The Arizona, the Bowfin... all of it - simply breath-taking and very emotional. I am very proud to say my Grandfather was stationed there and that now, my Fiance is there.

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  15. Lindsay, I really enjoyed this post. My husband and I went to Hawaii last February for our honeymoon, and a must see for us was Pearl Harbor. It was incredible. Yet - and this may sound horrible - I was somehow upset by all the Japanese people there. I am NOT racist, nor stereotypical -- however I couldn't help but feeling disgusted. The Memorial itself, with the oil STILL bubbling up from below, was so surreal. I couldn't help but shed a few tears, knowing that there were brave men and women lying to rest beneath me. I think it is a must see for every American. And Maui, for that matter :)

    PS - Thanks for the book recommendation, sounds like a great Christmas gift for the hubs!

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  16. I've never been but if we go to Hawaii, it's on my To-Do list. Ps. I think you should create a little "What to Do in Hawaii" post series or tab. So many people would love to see "your" Hawaii when traveling!

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  17. Wow, what a truly special time of remembrance!

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  18. This post is beautiful. I grew up in Hawaii and have gazed down at the sunken Arizona many times. In fact, my grandma was on the USS Arizona for a movie showing the night before the Japanese attacked. Luckily she did not stay overnight (nor do I think she was allowed to). In addition, my grandfather, also in the Navy, woke up to bullets in his bed offshore.

    The two weren't married yet, but I always think about how lucky I am to be here today. Like you, I wish I had time to talk about these stories with my grandparents before they passed away.

    On a happier note, I've been following your blog for awhile and am just now saying hello! My boyfriend went to the Naval Academy too. Class of '10. Keep up the beautiful writing! :)

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  19. what a great post, i was born and raised in hawaii and am of japanese decent.
    you know ive never been to the memorial

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  20. How cool that you got to go to the ceremony!

    Sometime, try to visit the USS Utah. It's on the opposite side of Ford Island. My hubs took me there after transiting by there (on his USCG ship). It's less-visited, and still really moving.

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  21. I have been to the Arizona Memorial and was even lucky enough to get a private tour with my job last year.

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  22. Couldn't comment on your previous post and wanted to make sure you got my email the other day I sent you for being the lucky winner of the lomography giveaway:) Let me know if you got it or not cause I'm beyonnnd excited!!

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  23. I have been (about 7 years ago on our honeymoon). I didn't expect it to upset/move me as much as it did. The scope of that day doesn't hit you until you do visit.

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