So I know December 7th was a week ago, but I wanted to write about this important day. Most people think that December 7th is just like any other day, but to me it's a little bit more. I woke up that morning and looked at the date and then looked at the time and realized that 67 years ago to the day, at 7:48am Hawaii time, Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. I have learned about Pearl Harbor in history classes throught out school, but it really became very real to me when my I got to see Pearl Harbor in person.
When I was 16 my family and I went to Hawaii for my brother's senior trip. We had such a great time and we saw all the sites, including some of the WWII sites, including Pearl Harbor. When you go to the Visitor's Center, the workers have you watch a short video about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then you go outside and get on a boat which takes you out to the Arizona Memorial. As I rode out to the memorial, I looked out on the harbor and saw that there were little floating memorials for each of the battleships that were in port on that early Sunday morning.
The Arizona Memorial is built right over the battleship Arizona. It's white and bright and airy, with lots of openings so the light comes through. There are also openings so you can see directly down to the Arizona itself. It was there when I looked out and saw the outline of the ship, the oil that still leaks to the surface and the barbette to one of the gun turrets that sticks out of the water, what happened in that quiet harbor really hit hard. It's hard to imagine the quite, peaceful harbor in complete chaos and devestation. 1,117 lives were lost when the Arizona was attacked, and most of those still rest within the ship. On one end of the memorial is a room that lists all the names of the men who died. Something that I thought was really cool was that as survivors of the Arizona die they're names are being added to the room. Many of them are also having their ashes spread over the Arizona so that they may once again be with their shipmates. It was a very special and amazing experience to visit such a wonderful tribute to those who fought and lost their lives that day 67 years ago. It is an experience that I will never forget and I hope to one day go back and visit again.
I thought about this experience last Sunday, and as I went throughout my day, I realized how grateful I am for the freedom we enjoy in this country and for all those who have given their lives so we might have our freedom. I know it's not the Fourth of July, or Memorial Day, or even Vetran's Day, but I think for me December 7th is a day that will always be a patriotic day for me.