Pearl Harbour

Hey Dad,

Early start again today, we were picked up at 6:15 am and driven to Pearl Harbour.

you would have been fascinated by this place! Our tour guide gave us head sets to listen to commentary. As he was running through the morning, a horn sounded. He stopped dead in his tracks, turned towards the American flag and placed his hand on his chest. The national anthem played. Everyone around us froze and did the same thing. It did not matter what people were doing, they all stopped dead on the spot. We were too scared to move or talk so we stood there listening to people around us sing. 

After the national anthem finished, we started our tour by walking around the grounds. After a quick walk we watched a film about Pearl Harbour and the day that made it famous. The film explained how they missed warning signs, and they were literally caught sleeping in their beds, completely unaware of what was about to occur. We were told how all the ships were lined up, it was like shooting fish in a barrel looking at the images. The film then explained which ships sank, and in what order, and how many people died on each ship. 

After the film, we boarded a small boat which took us to the memorial. The memorial is a beautiful white structure built to look like it is floating over the U.S.S Arizona, which sank in the bombings. The U.S.S Arizona is a graveyard for all the servicemen that died as it sank during Pearl Harbour. From the memorial floor you can look through a hole down onto the ship. The back of the memorial is a huge wall with the names and ranks of every person that lost their lives that day. It’s unbelievable to read, especially when you read multiples of the same surname; and if they could have been siblings. Or names with senior and junior after them, wondering if they were father and son. 

One thing I did learn was the survivors of Pearl Harbour can choose at the end of their life to be placed back on the U.S.S. Arizona with their fallen comrades. In front of the wall memorial stood a waist height wall type plaque with the names of the fallen that have been placed back inside the ship. Reading those names was also incredible. 

We stood for a while looking out over the U.S.S. Arizona, and what shocked me the most was the ship is still leaking oil! We stood there just watching a tiny dot rise to the surface and spead out covering meters of surface area. 

Back from the memorial we walked through the museum sections with our head sets, narrated my Jamie Lee Curtis. We saw servicemen uniform and listened to first hand accounts on what it was like to be at Pearl Harbour that day. 

I could have stayed there all day.

Before we knew it though we were out of time and moving on to our next destination. The U.S.S. Missouri was the site of the surrender of the empire of Japan, which ended World War II. It was decommissioned in 1955 but later recommissioned in 1984 with upgraded weapons and radar. 

We took a guided tour of the ship and walked along the decks, from the bow to the stern, learning about the history of the ship along the way. One fascinating thing we learnt was the ship was actually struck by a Japanese kamikaze pilot on the starboard side. A huge fire broke out, but with the training and knowledge of the crew it was extinguished in under five minutes. After role call, they discovered no one was killed and there were only a small handful of minor injuries from putting out the blaze. The bomb the kamikaze pilot was carrying did not detonate, which from what I understand was the only reason they were not blown out of the water. The crew while clearing up the debris came across half of the Japanese pilots body. They wanted to throw him over board, but the captain refused stating that this Pilot was following orders from his country and doing his duty. He should therefore have an official military burial. The crew were very displeased, and some even had to spend the night sewing a Japanese flag to place over the body. 

We then ventured below deck to look at the living quarters, the mess hall, and the captain private quarters and lounge. 

Dad I can’t tell you how much you would have enjoyed this morning. 

We got back into Honolulu late afternoon, and decided it was time for ice cream. That was until we past a cheesecake factory. You have never seen a desert of this size! The slice was as big as my head. If we had known we would have shared a slice. What made me laugh though was the menu had the calorie content of the slice on it. Only 1600 calories in my slice, that more then my usual daily amount! It was the best cheesecake I have ever had mind! 

We both felt so sick after the cheesecake we went for a walk and decided to go for a swim. The pool in our hotel is under renovation, so we decided to push our luck. From the rum bar we noticed you could walk out the back and straight into the Sheraton. We walked in like we owned the place, dumped our stuff and jumped in the pool before anyone noticed we did not have a wrist band on! 

After our swim and a dip in the ocean we walked back to the hotel. Time to pack and head to our next island in the morning. Our flight is really early, so we will need to be up even earlier. 

What an amazing day! 

Night dad x


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