Historic Pearl Harbor Tour

Since today is Memorial Day, I’m sharing photos of our tour around Pearl Harbor on Saturday. The Pearl Harbor Historic Tour is offered this weekend as a collaboration between the National Park Service and the US Navy. The tour guide said we could take photos so here they are.

Arizona Memorial

It started to rain as we passed the Arizona memorial and battleship row. We’d stop there on our return. First we headed to Torpedo Alley. Aerial torpedoes easily destroyed ships that lined this channel.

Torpedo Alley

We turned back to the main harbor area. I was looking back at torpedo alley when I realized a submarine was in front of me.

I hardly noticed the submarine.

We tried to exit the barricaded section of Pearl Harbor. We had to wait for the Navy to open the gates for us.

barricades

Turning to our right we passed the other side of Ford Island on our way to the USS Utah memorial. It’s known as the “forgotten memorial” because it sits in an area where active military live. The remnants of the Utah moved me. I envisioned what really happened that day by viewing this sight.

USS Utah. The Forgotten Memorial

Here’s a closer view of the Utah.

We turned then, stopping to view the small entrance to Pearl Harbor.

The small entrance to the harbor.

It’s because the entrance is so small that when the USS Nevada was attacked, she was heading towards open sea when she started sinking. Knowing she would block the small channel, they beached the Nevada on an area to the left and before the entrance.

The monument for the brave crew who beached the USS Nevada in order for others to reach open sea.

Back in the main harbor area where the battleships are, we passed the shipyard. No Ka Oi means “the best”.

No ka oi = the best

We passed the Missouri. I’d been on it before, but had never seen it from the water looking at her starboard side.

USS Missouri

And finally we stopped at the Arizona. It was a choppy water day so we didn’t see any oil or bubbles, but the shrine is always poignant.

Thank you to all who serve our country. Let’s remember those no longer with us and the sacrifices they made.

Pearl Harbor Survivor

Here’s what’s happened over the last few weeks:

First, we had a tour of Pearl Harbor from our friend Uncle Herb.  He’s half Hawaiian, in his 90’s and a Pearl Harbor and Battle of the Bulge survivor. It was my first time to the memorial and Uncle Herb greeted us in his electric scooter at the main gate.

We had no idea our neighbor and friend was a celebrity. Tourists brought their children up to him to hear his story. Everyone wanted a photo with a real life hero. We took photos for tourists and waited until it was time to board the ship to the Arizona. Uncle Herb had procured tickets for us on the 9:00 tour.

One of the many photos we took of Uncle and tourists.

The line for the 9:00 tour snaked around the building that housed the theater.  As we followed Uncle Herb, he steered his scooter along the side of the line, telling us, “Stick to me like glue.”  We did and Uncle led us to the front of the line, where the National Park rangers unhooked the rope and let us through.

We sat in the front row while waiting to watch a short video that helped explain the history of that infamous day. When finished, we opened the door and followed Uncle to the boarding area for the boat that would take us to the Arizona. The military members working the ship kept everyone standing in line behind the rope while Uncle Herb headed towards the ramp. We stopped when the men at the ramp flanked each side and saluted Uncle as he rode up the ramp to the ferry.

When he was on board, we followed him and waited for the line of people to embark. Once en route to the Arizona, one of the men who had saluted announced on the loudspeaker that there was a Pearl Harbor survivor onboard, that he would be let off ship first and that their tradition was to salute the living survivors.

Again we followed Uncle off the boat onto the Arizona. When the line of people standing to the left waiting to leave the Arizona saw Uncle in his Pearl Harbor hat come towards them, the entire line clapped as he rode by. We didn’t hear much of Uncle’s stories while on the memorial because everyone again wanted to meet him, shake his hand, tell him “thank you” and have a photo with him.

I leaned over to Uncle and whispered in his ear,  “You’re a rock star here.”

He smiled and said, “And I don’t have to have a guitar or shake my hips.”

We then asked one of the tourists to take our photo with Uncle Herb.

Here I am with Uncle Herb in front of the anchor from the Arizona.