Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor

Growing up in Hawaii, specifically on Oahu, December 7 was always a day of remembrance. I couldn't tell you how many times I've been to the USS Arizona Memorial, well into the teens. But even now, I still can't help feeling all sorts of emotions whenever I visit the Memorial. I took the above picture on the USS Arizona Memorial during one of my visits in 2006. It is one of my favorite pictures.

Here is another one of the Memorial from a different angle. You might notice that the flag was at half-mast. It was because I took this picture on Sept. 19, 2001, just 8 days after Sept. 11. Our plane tickets to Honolulu was scheduled for Sept. 12. Yup. Flights were cancelled and TBD as to when the airlines were going to resume flights. Although we lost our vacation enthusiasm (among other things), after some discussion, we decided to reschedule our flight as soon as possible, which was 4 days later. Fundamentally, the terrorists attacked our nation, our way of living, our believes, and our freedom. We felt at the time that it was best to continue on with our plans and that it was our way of giving the terrorists (how ever small) the Mainland Shaka (aka the Bird). That was also the year we purchased one of the flags that was flown on the Memorial. Quite fitting, I thought.

It's been kind of a military-themed week for me. Yesterday I attended a Change of Command Ceremony on the Midway. The tourists visiting yesterday certainly got their money's worth! While waiting for the ceremony to start, I had quite a few tourists ask me about the event. Not too many people outside the military gets a chance to see this time honored tradition. I've been lucky to have attended my first one in Hawaii last year. That one was held on the USS Missouri. Both ceremonies had Admirals as guest speakers (very cool!) and I enjoyed them both.

And today, as I like to do every year, pay homage to those who serve this country, those who stand in harms way to protect us and what our great nation stands for. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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