Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hawaii Vacation - Day 4: Pearl Harbor, and Visiting Old Friends

Kai was up early again and wanted to see the sunrise. After rain washed out the sunrise the day before, we checked out the skies before heading out. It was cloudy and a bit foreboding, but we went to the beach anyway.

From shortly before sunrise, the clouds above turned orange and looked beautiful, especially with the birds flying in the foreground.

But we still weren't sure if the clouds in the horizon would block our view of the sunrise.

But at the right moment, they lifted just enough to give us this wonderful sight.

Kai mostly enjoyed just splashing around in the water.

Our big activity on this day would be to visit Pearl Harbor, famous, of course, as the site of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 that propelled the U.S. into World War II.

The day before, I had gone online at 7:00 am to secure next day tickets to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, the primary reason to visit the harbor. Tickets are very limited so you have to go online precisely at 7:00. Our time slot for the Arizona was at 2 pm, but we went to the harbor in the morning to see other sites.

We started with a tour of the battleship Missouri, where the Japanese surrendered to bring World War II to an end.

The turrets you see in the above photo are able to shoot missiles on enemy targets 23 miles away.

We learned all about the occasion when the Missouri was parked in Tokyo Harbor and welcomed the Japanese officials on board for the official surrender. The Japanese expected to be executed, and were surprised when General McArthur gave a short, poignant speech that looked forward, and was not vengeful.

It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past -- a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.

It was very interesting to see the "inside" portions of the ship. We walked end to end and saw the mess hall, officer' quarters, post office, galley, and where most of the shipmen slept.

It was another hot, humid day so we enjoyed the shave ice as a break from the heat. (Though this shave ice was not nearly as tasty as the ones we had in Kailua).

After seeing the Missouri, we toured the Bowfin submarine. The Bowfin was nicknamed "Pearl Harbor Avenger" as it sunk 44 enemy ships, the most of any sub.

As with the Missouri, it was interesting to see the inside of the sub.

Unlike the massive battleship, space was at a premium in the sub.

Kai seemed to enjoy it.

Finally, in the afternoon, we went to the USS Arizona Memorial. The Arizona was the first battleship sunk on December 7, going down only minutes after the attack began. 1,177 of the 1,512 crewmen on board at the time were killed.

The Memorial straddles the sunken hull of the battleship without touching it.

The shrine at the far end is a marble wall that bears the names of all those killed on the Arizona.

Oil leaking from the sunken battleship can still be seen rising from the wreckage to the water's surface. This oil is referred to as "the tears of the Arizona."

So, at Pearl Harbor, we saw the bookends of World War II: where the war started for the U.S., and the Missouri where it came to an end.

After leaving Pearl Harbor, we drove to the leeward (west) side of the island to visit old friends of my parents. They took us to the beach at Ko'olina. The beach there is protected by manmade rocks that form lagoons and make the water calm and easy to swim. The water is crystal clear and near the rocks, we were able to see fish. We didn't stay at the beach too long, but it was a perfect way to cool off after the hot day at Pearl Harbor.

Then our friends treated us to dinner at Roy's, a very nice restaurant that specializes in Hawaiian and Japanese fusion cuisine.

The food was great, but I really wanted to talk with Ernie and Evelyn about the old days. Ernie was a friend of my dad back when my dad was growing up on Oahu, and they were also together in Chicago when Ernie came there to go to school. Ernie told me the story of how he was responsible for my mom and dad getting together. He said my dad was very shy, so he had to prod him to ask my mom out for their first date. He even gave my dad money to take out her out. If he didn't do that, I would not be here today! I had not heard that story from my dad so it was great to learn a critical part of my family's history.

In the photo above, the aloha shirt I am wearing is my dad's old one. Evelyn described it as me bring it home for him.

Afterward we made the long drive back to the windward side of the island. But when I say long, it is very relative. At that hour, it took us only 45 minutes to go from one side of the island to the other, less time than it takes us back home to get to downtown Chicago from our suburb.

Up next, another family visit and exploring a different part of the island.


  1. Another day well spent. Ki got to see many things, and by the looks on his face, he enjoyed himself...especially being in the water once again.

    1. Vacations are for enjoyment, of course, but I also like to having plenty of occasions to learn, and this was a good one for Kai, and for all of us. Kai did very well on another hot day, but yes, I know he especially enjoyed being in the water.


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