Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pearl Harbor

On Monday we got up and drove over to Pearl Harbor for the day.  We bought our tickets for the Arizona Memorial, but those weren't for until 1:00, so we decided to tour the USS Bowfin, a World War II submarine, first.  Micah and Drew weren't allowed on the actual submarine, but there was a museum associated with the boat that they could tour, so we did that first.  The lady there was nice and even let Micah have headphones and one of the little electronic devices so he could hear the tour.  I don't know how much he got, but it did keep him entertained!  Drew was in the Ergo, and he fussed around (a general theme for the day, as it turned out).  I thought the museum was really interesting.

After we were done in the museum, it was time for everyone else to go onto the sub.  Micah was distracted by these big guns, fortunately.  After I took this picture, I gave the camera to Bob.

The self-guided sub tour (with headphones again) was neat, I'm told.   Anna liked the torpedo room, which also had beds.  In the picture below, they are in an engine room.

On the very end of the boat.
Caleb sighting the gun.
 After they were done, they came back to the van in the parking lot, where Micah and Drew and I were snacking and enjoying the air conditioning.  We ate lunch over at Hickam, at a plate lunch place by the BX, before heading back to Pearl Harbor for our Arizona tour.

First everyone watches a movie.  It was really well-done, from what I could see of it, and it did a good job of making sure everyone knew what happened there, as well as the build-up to it, on Dec. 7, 1941.  The reason I was distracted was that Drew, who I was holding, was an absolute bear.  He was so crabby!  I stood at the back of the theater and bounced him around, trying to keep him quiet, because I really wanted to see the movie, but eventually I had to take him outside.  I was so not happy with him that day, let's just say.

Finally we got on the ferry boat, and he was a little happier since we were moving.  The memorial was really crowded, but it was still somber and moving.  Seeing the huge turret poking out of the water really made it all real.
Seeing the huge wall of the names of all the men who died was also so sobering.

After taking the ferry back, we spent time going through the Pearl Harbor Museum.  I also really thought it was good.  They had a lot of video testimonials from eyewitnesses, people who served, Japanese people, etc.  I also felt like they really tried to make the people who died be real, by including letters, pictures, and other memorabilia from their families, and there was a lot of information on the backdrop of the war, and the mistakes that were made because we were so stupidly blind and missed so many clues and signals.  It was really interesting.  There were a ton of Japanese tourists there, and I wondered what they thought.  I knew how embarrassed I was at the Iolani Palace on Friday at how our government acted when we took over Hawaii--did they feel like their government had messed up by killing all these sailors?  Or were they sad it happened because it "woke the sleeping giant", and caused Japan to lose the war?  Who knows?  

A few days later, my dad forwarded me an email about Pearl Harbor, from a guy who had read a book by Adm. Nimitz about Pearl Harbor.   

Sunday,December 7th, 1941--Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair,dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.
On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every where you looked.

As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral,what do you think after seeing all this destruction?" Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.
Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.
 Which do you think it was?"
Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?" Nimitz explained:
Mistake number one:
The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.
If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk--we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two:
When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.

As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America . And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.
Mistake number three:
Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply and burned half the island down. That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.

No comments: