Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Pearl Harbor

On Monday we took a pilgrimage to the national memorial at Pearl Harbor. It was a sobering yet inspiring experience. 

This anchor is off of the USS Arizona and stands in tribute to all the men and women who sacrificed their life in the attacks on December 7, 1941. 

We were there when the gates opened and were the first group to boat over to the memorial above the USS Arizona. 

This was a pretty solemn 15 minutes we spent over the grave of some 900 men.

Some parts of the ship continue to stand out of the water. She even seeps a bit of oil yet. Some describe it as the tears of the men who lie within her. 

Inside are engraved the names of all the men who died on the Arizona that day. Over 1,000.

Flanking the memorial is the what's called the Tree of Life, a reminder that death does not have the last word.

After visiting other sights around the Pearl Harbor and WWII memorials, we bussed it over to the USS Missouri. This was a super interesting tour. Among many wonders, I couldn't believe how beautiful the teak wood deck was. 

This spot marks the sight where the peace treaty was signed between the US and Japan marking the end of WWII. My Grandpa Schmeltzer was aboard another ship in Tokyo Bay, the USS Pamina, while this document was being signed. 

We toured the rest of the boat too. I was particularly impressed with the machine shop. 

The technology of their day was pretty incredible too. Pretty amazing to see this boat, which marks the end of WWII, sitting next to the site of the USS Arizona, which marked the beginning of WWII. A lot went on between them.

Winning a world war is worth a little celebration.

I think what impressed me the most about this whole experience is the amount of patriotism that welled up in the American people following the attack at Pearl Harbor. Japan didn't expect that. I think we all felt a bit of that after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Sadly, I'm not sure we'd experience such unified effort in our country over anything today. I love America and thank God for the men and women who have sacrificed to ensure her freedom. Their martyrdom inspires me to never take anything for granted. Above that, their heroism encourages me to fight for freedom. And not just earthly freedom, eternal freedom. 

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