Jet-lag and I were best friends throughout our entire trip, and on our first full day in Hawaii I awoke at 4:45 a.m. (which never happens naturally). Both A. and E were still asleep and seeing as how it also happened to be our 6th wedding anniversary, I spent about an hour in bed reminiscing over the life we’d created in that six years. I think I finally got out of bed and started getting ready around 5:30 as it was my goal to leave the hotel by 7:00 a.m. so we’d be at Pearl Harbor by 8:00 a.m. to pick up our 9:00 a.m. tour tickets (are you following me here?)
I had booked our tour tickets online 60 days prior for a nominal reservation fee of $4.95. I highly recommend doing this! While I was getting ready, A. and E woke up and started getting ready for the day. Island time kicked in and we didn’t leave until closer to 7:30. Now, when you reserve your tickets online, you’re supposed to pick them up one hour before your tour time, and since it was a Friday morning, I was unsure of what type of traffic we’d encounter. Never to fear, even leaving the hotel 30 minutes late, our fearless tour guide Waze got us to our destination a few minutes past 8:00. Because I had reserved our tickets online, only one person from our party had to be present to pick them up, so A. ran up to the ticket booth while I parked the car. Before long E and I were on our way up to meet him.
When we met up with A. we had about 45 minutes before it was our turn to get in line for the video presentation that proceeds the boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial. We walked around the shop and peaked in the museums. Seeing as how I had only brought in my small wristlet containing money, cards, and ID when Little Miss decided she was hungry and wanted her juice we knew we needed to make our way to the small food market. I was pleasantly surprised at how moderately priced food and beverage was. E. settled on powdered donuts to cure her case of the “hangry’s”.
Soon enough it was our turn to file into the theater and watch the video that precludes the boat ride to the memorial. We had been preparing E. for our trip to Pearl Harbor, but made sure we sat in the row in the back in case she had any concerns during the movie. Thankfully, she did great! Once the move was over, we boarded our boat and were on our way to the memorial.
People have asked me how the memorial was on several occasions and I’m not sure how to respond. I’m so glad we had the privilege to experience this sacred memorial. I can’t however bring myself to say that it was “great”. How can you describe something so somber and tragic with positive words? It is an experience I hope that all American’s have the opportunity to experience to remember just how visible we are and how many brave men and women fight for the freedoms we exercise daily often with little remembrance of the lives that have been lost allowing us to do so.
We spent about 40 minutes on the memorial, though I likely could have spent the entire day in reflection.
When we were notified that it was time for our tour group to depart the memorial, we got in line and boarded the boat for our return trip. Feeling quite nostalgic we made the impulsive decision to also head over to see the USS Missouri which I did not book in advance, nor was it $4.95. By the time we boarded the shuttle bus which took us from Pearl Harbor to the “Mighty Mo” we were wondering if we’d made the right choice. We were all tired from jet-lag and from being out in the bright sun. This sounds silly since we live in a desert, but the sun in Hawaii is different the sun back home, and it was wearing on us.
Once we got to the “Mighty Mo” we were assigned a tour group and started our tour. Our tour guide was passionate about the USS Missouri, but we found ourselves wishing we’d been assigned to the guide before our group or after ours as they were far more entertaining. Still, it was a very neat experience to have been present in the place where the United States entered WWII and to also be present in the place where our war with Japan ended.
We departed the USS Missouri and took the Shuttle back to the main entrance plaza. After picking up a few souvenirs we decided to head back to Aulani for a nap and to finally get our feet in the water!