As I thought about the subject of this post, it occurred to me that I could add it to several of my blogs. In one way, it fits my WWII one because of its history. In another, it fits my on here because this is my personal blog.
Tody’s post was inspired by a conversation I had with my family the other day. A discussion on where we wanted to visit once this virus ends. Of course, my answer was Hawaii. My sister agreed with me in that she wants to visit this island as well but for an entirely different reason then mine. She believes people travel to Hawaii for the sandy beaches which is her reasoning as well. Lying back on the sandy beach and soaking up the sun while listening to the waves crashing against the shore is a wonderful idea but it isn’t my sole reason for wanting to visit this paradise.
What does Hawaii mean to me?
If you have been following me on my WWII blog which you can find here or on my Instagram page, you can probably guess where this post is going. Hawaii for me means exploring the island’s rich culture and history.
It means wandering around the Pearl Harbor visitor’s center and reading the different plaques of information beside their exhibits. It means taking a ferryboat across the harbor to where the white memorial rests upon the sunken USS Arizona to pay my respects to the men who paid the ultimate sacrifice on December 7th, 1941. It means reading the names of the survivors etched in marble who have chosen to be entombed with their fallen comrades inside the remains of the once magnificent battleship upon their deaths and taking a moment of silence to pay homage to their willingness to fight for our freedoms.
It means visiting the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum where you can witness the bullet holes in the windows of Hangar 79 that were made by Japanese Zeros on December 7th. It means climbing aboard the USS Missouri docked at Ford Island and stand at the very spot where the Japanese surrender took place in September of 1945.
It means meeting the wonderful people who work at the Pacific Historic Parks who have been so amazing in helping me with my novel. Whether that is answering my question via long Instagram messages or sending me packages stuffed with postcards, information packets, and a magnet.
Yes, I want to enjoy the beach and smell the saltwater. I want to hike Diamond Head and the explore the other hiking trails this island has to offer. But that is second on my list.
This is what Hawaii means to me: visiting the historical sites and museums it offers. If that makes me a nerd, then so be it. I am proud of my nerdiness. I am proud to be American. But most importantly, I want to help keep the stories of the Greatest Generation–the stories of those who died on December 7th as well as those who survived and went on to fight–alive. And one way to uphold Seaman First Class Donald Stratton’s dying wish of keeping the legacy of Pearl Harbor and those who perished on that day alive is to visit these places, soak up everything you can from the museums and its dedicated workers, and then write about them. Talk about them and share them with the world.