Monday, April 6, 2009

Trip to Hawaii: Part 1

ETA: One of my readers was inspired by this blog post, and wrote a lovely poem, which I have attached at the end of this entry...

Hey, we went to Hawaii for a few days! So, bear with me, as the next couple of posts won't have any cards, I think...

I'm kind of doing this in reverse order, since our last day is freshest in my mind, so I thought I'd post it first.

My 10 year-old son, Peter, is fascinated by World War II, and has really studied the events surrounding Pearl Harbor for the past couple of years. So we just had to see the USS Arizona Memorial while we were in Hawaii! We decided to take a taxi, rather than a tour group, so that we could spend as much time as we needed at Pearl Harbor.

The weather was absolutely beautiful that day, a little windy, but still gorgeous.
Here is a view from the shore...first, we watched a video, then we rode a ferry out to the memorial. It was a very somber ride, and I felt kind of guilty for going to look at it.

The memorial sits above the sunken Arizona, and the ship still holds the bodies of the fallen men inside it. I took a few pictures of the water, and parts of the ship, but felt weird about posting them...just seemed too, I don't know what, so I won't show those...

Anyways, at the far end of the memorial is a Shrine Room, with all the names of the fallen shipmates engraved on the back wall. The room was filled with visitors, so it was kind of tricky getting just my guys ( I didn't want to break any privacy laws). Here are Peter and Daddy, reading the names:
There are plenty of places to look down and see the USS Arizona, I mean it really is close to the surface of the water...
It was a lot more sombering than I thought it would be, and afterwards, my little guy had to sit under a coconut tree and think about it. (Don't worry, we went to the gift shop, and he got a cool set of ships so that he could set up and do re-enactments. Also, Anastasia found a cute photo book of soldiers and their dogs, called "Buddies"...I love that book! A couple of hours later, we went over to the USS Missouri ship and had a lot of fun, and I'll try to post that tomorrow):
When Ziggy was very young, he taught himself to read raised print. He especially loved to read license plates in parking lots, and since he was my first-born, I had enough time to give him lots of practice doing that.

Anyways, that skill has come in handy many times, and the Arizona Memorial was no exception. He was able to read the those wonderful hands! There wasn't much for him to see at the memorial, so I wasn't sure how much he got out of the experience. But he did read this plaque:
I love that last line: "May God make His face to shine upon them and grant them peace"

Peter was so solemn...the Memorial was filled with people, and there was virtually no talking. It's alot for a 10 year-old, I think. I started taking pictures upward, because I found the ceiling so interesting. I told Peter that these guys that died would want us to remember them, but not so much in a sad way; maybe in an honorable way, but not sad.

He thought I was silly to take ceiling photos, but I said these sailors would be looking up at the sky and out across the water, and that's what I wanted to remember. I took a bunch of ceiling pictures, but couldn't get our country's flag completely in the picture until I moved over and let the Sun in the picture...

And there it is: God and Country. Two things worth fighting for and dying for, I think.

May God make His face to shine upon them...

(poem submitted by one of my readers):

God's Eyes

People who have died
Lie in their graves
Into God's eyes.

People who have died
Would not want us to be sad
But look
Into God's eyes.


Dorothea "Dee" Buckingham said...

Your son might enjoy a book written for boys his age. It's Graham Salisbury's UNDER THE BLOOD RED SUN.

I have a column in the Hawaii Reporter ( "Women of World War II Hawaii. There are columns scheduled for July that will deal with what boys his age were doing during World War II on Oahu.

I hope you have a terrific trip.

There are some great restaurants in Hawaii--Roy's in Hawaii Kai--the best, Maple Garden for Chinese, Kakaako Kitchen for upscale local cuisine served in take out boxes (at Ward Centre) and Pah Ke's in Kaneohe for Chinese.

Dorothea "Dee" Buckingham

Check out my website at

Keri Lee Sereika said...

Wow what a great post Diana....I think my favorite picture is of Ziggy reading the plaque...what a totally awesome shot...much love