Luckily for us, we received two tickets for the 8 AM ferry, the first ferry of the day! It was very emotional to approach the memorial and realize that we would be the first visitors of the day. The quiet mood was magnified since we were the first tourists, and the water was very still and quiet for viewing the wreck beneath the waves. Everyone was appropriately solemn and spoke in whispers. Several sailors in whites were amongst the crowd. I felt as if I were standing on Ground Zero in Manhattan, thinking of the thousands of young men still inside the Arizona after all those years. There are tears in my eyes as I remember and write these words.
These names can be searched at The Interactive USS Arizona Memorial Database
found at FootNote.com
Hubby visited the submarine USS Bowfin whilst I perused the bookstore and the new visitor center. He also contemplated a tour of the battleship Missouri, but we decided to leave it for another day. The bookstore had a good selection of World War II history, as well as a small selection of books on Hawaii. My husband bought a US flag that flew over the Arizona Memorial on 7 December 2009, the 68th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor incident. This is a wonderful gift for any family, especially for veterans. There was a large selection of flags of many sizes available for purchase, and all had flown over the USS Arizona.
Since Hubby was in charge of the plans for the day, we were off to visit the Dole pineapple plantation. He had grown up in Puerto Rico, so the thought of seeing all that tropical fruit sounded like fun to him. It was a lot of fun, and we took a small scale train ride through the pineapple fields, and also saw lots of other types of fruit trees (guava, mango, papaya, macadamia, carambolla, etc.).
We also visited an ancient Hawaiian Heiau along the way, where the birthing stones for the ali’I (nobility) are located in central Oahu. “Heiau” is the Hawaiian word for a temple. The royal women were brought here to give birth, similar to a site we had seen on the island of Kauai. It was nice to visit a place that celebrated new life, after the Pearl Harbor memorial. It was also still considered sacred ground, with kapu signs, and fruit and flower offerings made by native Hawaiians draped over some of the stones.
Afterward, we visited the north shore again, and drove to the end of the Farrington Highway at its most western point. Again, there were breathtaking beaches and beautiful mountains, and we used up another memory card on the digital camera!
Later that afternoon cousin from Honolulu told me we had an appointment later in the week to visit the Royal Mausoleum, and we could also visit the Dominis family plot down the street from the Mausoleum at the Oahu Cemetery. Research at the State Archives was going to wait, too, for later in the week when we had another appointment at Iolani Palace.
For more information:
http://www.nps.gov/valr/ the website for the National Park Service, Pearl Harbor Memorial
http://www.hawaiiweb.com/oahu/sites_to_see/kukaniloko_birth_stones.htm for a website about the Kukaniloko Birth Stones.
http://www.dole-plantation.com/ the website for the Dole plantation
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo