It was my first trip to Hawaii and I landing on Oahu Island at Honolulu Airport. The trip was with a group of people who all had the intention of studying but I arrived 2-3 days earlier to do some independent studies on my own. I more-or-less knew the subject matters on the study agenda but I wanted to learn more about Hawaai before joining the group. I especially wanted to see:
On December 7th, 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor with no warning and took everyone by surprise. It was an unprecedented action in human history.
The Internet search engines reveal the facts of this event from just about any angle, gathering eye-witness reports of what and how it happened on that fateful Sunday morning in Hawaii. My intention, here, is to tell my readers what I saw and what I experienced on the scene 50 years after the most horrible event in history. One had to go to the memorial early in the morning because there were so many visitors that it took about an hour of waiting to get in.
What I learned
There was a most magnificent large battleship called the USS Arizona. She docked at Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, fully loaded with fuel and all necessary ammunition for the weapons on the ship. Navy soldiers on board gathered for breakfast on that Sunday morning. The Japanese attacked from the air, in total secrecy, in the most ugly way. While the diplomats were negotiating in Washington in Japan they were preparing for weeks ahead to execute this attack. This kind of a dishonesty was very much disapproved of later on by the Japanese themselves since the Japanese moral does not agree with the sneaky way of stabbing the 'enemy' in the back.
The USS Arizona was hit and exploded at once, killing everybody on board. The ship sank where she was moored and remains there, to this day, as a cemetery for the young men killed in this action. A Memorial is built over the ship from which one of the turrets of the sunken ship can still be seen.
When I finally got to the actual Arizona memorial I first walked into a room where huge photographs were on exhibition. I rather wished I had not see them. Because of the enormous amount of visitors there was a limited time to spend while looking at the memories. A 20-minute film was also shown. After the movie was over I just saw many people getting up wiping their tears like myself. It was a shocking, exhausting time even though it was a short film.
When I walked over to the end of the building, stretching over the sunken ship below, I arrived at the wall where all the names of those beautiful young men who were killed are written along wih their ages and their home towns in the USA .
This was, of course, not the entire story because there were other ships hit, over 2000 people killed and thousands wounded.
The why is always there when it comes to war. People kill other people they have never met. They don't even know their names, don't know their language and don't know anything else - just that they are the 'enemy'.
But every war comes to an end and then there is peace. Life returns to normal with an everyday routine. Today Hawaii has more Japanese inhabitants than white people who are in the minority. The Japanese children who are born there become US citizens and the hostility is forgotten.