Thursday, June 9, 2011

We will count this as History Class for the day!

Cousin A who lives on the island of Oahu arranged for us to stay at a friends house who just happened to be on vacation to the mainland. It worked out perfectly. They too have a daughter about Sophie's age and then two boys and then a younger daughter. They had the exact beds, toys, and space we needed to feel right at home. The boys helped themselves to the box of legos that were left out for them to play with and Sophie found some books to entertain herself. And Molly was in heaven because there was a doll stroller for her to push around.  They even had a Wii with the Harry Potter Lego game which is one we don't have but my boys really want now.
It was nice to stay at a house rather than a hotel. It certainly gave us a feel for what living on the island would be like. Lizards in the kitchen, cockroaches in the bathroom and all.
We feel pretty lucky to have been allowed to stay in this home.
But on to our first major outing.
I am so glad we studied WWII just before coming to Hawaii because what visit to his particular island would be complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor.
We talked to a man who was there in the harbor on December 7, 1941.  He was an interesting man and loved to tell us about his experience.

We spent some time going through the museum which told the story of the build up to war and the events that happened on that day of infamy.
My kids weren't bored. (Ok. Molly was bored and wanted to chase the birds but the other kids seemed to really be interested) I think it really paid off for us to read those books and talk about the events and even watch Tora, Tora, Tora before coming.
We really liked all the maps that were displayed to show where everything was situated that morning. We could look right across the water and see where the battle ships were docked.
We finally were able to take the ferry over to the Arizona Memorial.

We looked down into the water and saw what was left of the ship.
Right next to the memorial is the USS Missouri which is the battleship on which the Japanese officially surrendered.
The kids decided they would rather go on the submarine. Molly was not old enough to go onto the sub so we waited while the others went on board.
I am actually kinda glad I didn't go on. I am not a big fan of confined spaces.
The kids told me that everything was really cramped and there wasn't much extra space anywhere on the sub.
Hallways were thin.
Passageways were tiny.
And there were tubes and dials everywhere.
They took a few moments to try out the deck gun.

After the submarine we headed over to the Aviation Museum. This museum is located on Ford Island which is in the middle of the harbor and was where the battleships were all docked around.
We got to see a Japanese Zero.
These are the torpedoes and bombs that the Japanese dropped on Pearl Harbor.
My husband can tell us what each plane was, where is was used and any famous battles they were used in. I on the other hand had to read each of the plaques because I couldn't do much more than tell you that they were American planes.

After a hanger of WWII planes we walked over to another hanger which had some jets and helicopters used in later years.

Evidently they didn't replace the glass on this hanger. If you look very closely you can see bullet holes in the glass on walls. We were told these were from the attack on Pearl Harbor. They didn't want to remove that little bit of history.
It was a long full day at Pearl Harbor and it was hot and humid. We were happy to head back home and relax our tired feet.


Diane said...

To see a piece of history first hand like this is just amazing. A member of our church was also present at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. He still gets choked up when talking about it. It had such an incredible impact of his life, he even wrote a small book about his experiences. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Cellista said...

I'll say this counts as history class! I have three boys sitting here who are supremely jealous that you were at Pearl Harbor. That is C's dream vacation at the moment. Thanks for sharing so many pictures and I hope the rest of your trip is as wonderful.

p.s. I wouldn't have wanted to go in the sub either. :)

Kodelle said...

What an experience for your family!