This is a continuation of the story of my family history related trip to Hawaii. Since we had been so busy doing my genealogy research, it was time for my hubby to choose the day’s activities. He decided to go to Pearl Harbor, since it was Sunday, and most museums and archives would be closed. Several taxi drivers and hotel staff had told us to arrive extra early in the morning, since tickets were needed for the ferry to the Arizona Memorial and they were given out on a first come- first served basis. Being vacation, we didn’t want to arrive there at 6 AM as advised, but compromised and arrive a little after 7 AM.
Luckily for us, we received two tickets for the 8 AM ferry, the first 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. Tears are flowing as I write this.
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. Since he was in charge of the plans for the day, we were off to visit the Dole pineapple plantation.
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 were shown on the island of Kauai. 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!
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 website about the Kukaniloko Birth Stones.
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo
http://www.dole-plantation.com/ the website for the Dole plantation