I really didn’t how else to title this post. At first, I thought it was too cheesy of a title because my first visit to Pearl Harbor was on Memorial Day. Then I thought that it might offend some people if I was trying to cheeky with my title in regards to the national day of remembrance.
Just a week ago I wrote a post for a Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day 2014 guide. I had no idea this was going to happen today.
In the end, I decided that I didn’t care. The title reflects how I felt. It was memorial and I did feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to the men and women who died (and survived) that day and throughout all of this country’s wars, battles, and conflicts.
I’m not going to go into a long post about the history of Memorial Day or things about Pearl Harbor and World War II that we all already know and hear so much on these holidays. However, two things did happen today that I’m happy to write about in this post.
The first was the chance to see and be on the same USS Arizona Memorial tour as Don Stratton, one of only 10 remaining survivors of the USS Arizona. There was a small ceremony at the memorial today, along with press and Don’s family. It was a true honor. It was overwhelming.
The second thing that happened today was almost eery. At least, to me it was. Around 15 years ago I came into possession of my grandfather’s World War II discharge paperwork. I never knew that I would be stationed in Hawaii or have the chance to visit Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day, a spot with so much Naval history and honor. I was able to take a picture of my grandfather’s discharge with the USS Arizona Memorial in the background. He wasn’t at Pearl Harbor, but the irony of the circumstances was just too much to pass up.
Here is Don Stratton talking about the attack: