Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hawaiian Road Trip - 3rd Post


Up way too early, again. We had to get an early start because the tickets for groups are handed out early and fast. We boarded 2 mini buses from Roberts Tours and our bus driver was a social studies teacher and really put passion into his telling of the events of December 7, 1941. He showed us where the airplanes come from that calm December morning. Without going into a history lesson which is not my purpose with this blog, I'm just going to say Pearl Harbor is a place EVERYONE should visit when coming to Hawaii. It's a place of remembrance, a memorial to the sacrifice of young men who died while just doing their job. The Park Service and US Navy is doing a wonderful job is maintaining the memorial and preserving the feel of the past so visitors get a full understanding of the life and times of the people living and working in Honolulu during the 1930s and 1940s. Before visitors can go out the Arizona Memorial everyone views a 20 minute movie explaining the events that happened on the 7th. This moving was extremely movie and the first time I saw this moving I cried like a baby, it's still hard to view, but I'm not as weepy when leaving the movie. On to boarding the Navy launch to the memorial, the best places to sit for the short ride out it either on the dock side of the launch or the the back next to the water. These seat give you excellent vantage points for photographs. On the memorial itself people are thoughtful and respectful of the memory of the men of the Arizona and other sailors who lost their life during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Each group is given about 20 - 45 minutes on the memorial to pay their respect, several of us brought the lai's we received when we arrived in Honolulu and dropped the petals into the waters of the harbor. To me this was the best way to show my respect to these sailors. My grandfather was serving in the US Navy during the raid on Pearl and I'm just so thankful his ship was not one of the ships in the harbor that morning. We served in every major battle in the Pacific and servived the war to be a major influence in my love of American History. We spent about 3 hours at Pearl Harbor then boarded the mini buses again for a tour of downtown Honolulu.

This tour took us to the oldest Chinatown in the United States and to the palace of the former Kings and Queens of Hawaii. The architecture was stunning, we also saw the capital building and the governors mansion. The Punch Bowl, a National Veterans Cemetary, at the top of the city is a beautiful oasis on Oahu. The views at the top of this mountain out over the city are spectacular. The other fascinating part of this tour is we saw the place where our 44th president Barrack Obama lived during his youth. The school he attended, the basketball courts where he played pickup ball, and the Baskin Robins where he had his first job. He's diffenately come a long way and is a symbol our what one can do in this country when they put their mind to it.

We where back at the hotel by 12 noon and went across the street to have lunch on the beach, calm winds, We did a little shopping at the International Market Place and other local stores the group got ready for a sunset cruise around Wiakiki. This was really beautiful. Going to to sea and watching the sun set from the ocean was a rare treat. I've got several pictures of the sun setting over the ocean from the beach, but I have to say that the best was on our cruise. We had a pretty good meal and the entertainment was so much fun. I called it early this night because I had to be up at 3:30 to get ready to leave the hotel at 4:30 am. I had an early morning flight to the Big Island for a Grand Circle tour.

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