Today was Pearl Harbor day. Based on everything we read and were told, it was suggested that we go first thing in the morning in order to avoid the crowds. So, around 7:00AM we headed off. Even though it was only about 15 miles away, we had to deal with rush hour traffic which really slowed things down.
We ended up getting to Pearl Harbor, formally know as World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, around 8:00AM and quickly got tickets to the 8:15AM tour group. The way it works is that you get free tickets to see a video and then tour the USS Arizona Memorial. The tickets are on a first come, first serve basis, so during the busy season, you may get a ticket, but your tour may not start for 2 hours or more. So, a 15 minute wait was perfect.
We passed the time by walking through two brand new museums they have at the memorial. They just opened in the past month for the anniversary and include one exhibit that deals with the events leading up to the attack called “Road to War” and a second detailing the actual attack called “Attack”.
A hand drawing of the radar plot of the Japanese fighters approaching Pearl Harbor. It details the incoming planes with stunning precision. Radar, however, was brand new technology at the time and wasn’t fully understood. The Japanese attackers were misidentified as USA Air Force bombers scheduled to arrive on the island and no alarm was sounded.
When the time for our tour started, we headed into a theatre for a 20 minute video giving an overview of the events on December 7th, 1941. After the video, we all boarded a boat to head out to the USS Arizona memorial. The actual tour of the USS Arizona only last 15 minutes before you have to get back on the boat and the time flew by.
The shrine commemorating the 1,177 sailors killed on December 7th, 1941. The quote reads, “To the Memory of the Gallant Men Here Entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on December 7, 1941, on the U.S.S. Arizona”
After getting back to land, we finished up at the two museums and walked the grounds of the memorial. There were other exhibits to visit such as the Battleship Missouri memorial, the Bowfin submarine memorial, and USS Oklahoma, however each of these exhibits were an additional cost and after spending nearly 3 hours, we were emotionally and intellectually spent.
“Dear Lord / Lest I continue / My complacent way / Help me to remember
Somehow out there / A man died for me today. / As long as there be war
I then must / Ask and answer / Am I worth dying for?”
–Poem Eleanor Roosevelt kept in her wallet during World War II
As we were leaving, the crowds were pouring in. All of the tour buses were emptying out and the line for the USS Arizona memorial was starting to get pretty long. We were really glad that we got there when did.
The most interesting factoid of the trip for me was a found on a draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech on December 8th, 1941. The draft shows that his opening line, probably one of the most famous opening lines in history, "Yesterday, a day that will live in infamy” was almost “Yesterday, a day that will live in world history.” It’s hard to imagine the quote being as powerful and memorable had it been “world history” instead of “infamy.”
Hiking and Beaching
After a quick lunch back at the rental house, we headed out to do some hiking and spend some time on the beach. On our reconnoiter the other day, we spotted a trail snaking up the side of a mountain, so we decided to check it out. The trail ended up being a lot longer than planned at 1.5 miles each way. My legs were still a bit sore from the marathon, and we weren’t thinking ahead and didn’t bring water for the trip. We were really regretting that halfway up when the sun started to beat down on us.
The downhill portion of the trail was actually harder for me than the up hill. My quads were the most sore and my left leg kept buckling on me. Thankfully, I never actually fell and just took a few awkward steps.
After the mountain, it was time to find a beach. The first beach we stopped at, Sandy Beach, was not recommended by the lifeguard on duty as it apparently has the highest number of broken necks of any beach. Deciding to play it safe, we continued down the road to another beach.
We ended up at a beach tucked away down a side street in a little neighborhood. It had a great sandy beach and magnificent views, however the waves were pretty lame. I actually told Jennie that, “This is a lame beach, it is like a Jennie beach.” haha. I made the most of it and did some body surfing and we took some time to write things in the sand.
After the lame beach, we headed back to our rental house to catch the sunset. We tried to (and succeeded in) photographing every sunrise and sunset of our trip.
After the beach, it was time to get cleaned up and go out for a fancy dinner. Part of this trip was to celebrate our 5 year anniversary which was really in July, but who wants to go to Hawaii in July?? We’d rather go when it is cold in Michigan. Any ways, a place called Roy’s was recommended to us by multiple people so we decided to check it out.
When I called to make reservations, they asked if the dinner was for a special occasion so I told them it was for an anniversary. When we arrived, we were greeted by the hostess wishing us a happy anniversary. At our table, a handwritten card and centerpiece shared the same sentiments. We were then treated to glasses of champagne on the house to celebrate as well.
After perusing the menu, I decided on the Hibachi Grilled Atlantic Salmon and Jennie picked the grilled chicken and potatoes. For starters, I had a sampler appetizer platter that include all sorts of good things: spring roll, crab cake, spare rib, and ahi. Jennie picked a spring roll appetizer. One new experience for me was the hot towels I got with my appetizer. Because my appetizer came with spare ribs, the towels were needed to cleanup. The towels came out on a tiny plate and looked like little sugar cubes. When the waiter powered hot water on them, they expanded into rolled up towels.
Everything was absolutely fabulous. After the main course we were completely stuffed. However, we had already ordered dessert, so we were going to have to find room somewhere. Not only did we each get a dessert of our own, but we got a complimentary shared dessert on the house for our anniversary. So, one and a half desserts. Yikes. Between the two of us, we had a chocolate lava torte (me), a pineapple upside down cake (Jennie), and cheesecake (shared).
We left completely stuffed and completely satisfied. I was really feeling the need to exercise by this point. Anything to burn off the excess calories.