Pearl Harbor is one of those places that leaves you with a sense of true American patriotism.
In some ways, the day spent there was fun…
Even silly sometimes.
It’s educational and even leaves you feeling a bit overwhelmed, as you realize what happened there. The pain, the heartache, the sacrifice, and ultimately the victory. We were able to tour an actual submarine and then even the ship on which the papers were signed to end World War II.
Pride in our country and in the men who dedicate their lives to keep us free and safe welled up inside me, making me stand just a little bit taller when I looked up to see the American flag waving in the breeze.
But there were also the moments during which sadness welled up inside of me too.
Visiting the USS Arizona memorial almost takes your breath away, when you see the waves lapping at the actual ship that was sunk so many years ago when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The ship is still leaking oil after all these years, as though the memory of the past is reaching out and touching the present.
The memorial floats just above it, as the ship has remained untouched for all these years.
And when you realize that there are men — men taken away from their families too brutally and too soon– still buried within that sunken ship, your eyes can’t help but sting.
And you almost want to whisper into the wind, “Thank you… and we will never forget you.”