Our alarm was set for 5am, which was not a good situation for me. It’s no secret that I am not the happiest person in the morning. I just love sleeping! This morning was even worse after fighting through a sleepless night of jet lag. Boooooo!
However, the alarms were set for good reason. We needed to wake up, eat some brekkie and hop on the public transit to head over to Diamond Head before sunrise. Diamond Head Crater is a stunning volcanic landmark that has incredible 360 degree views of Oahu! The early am wake up was definitely worth the view and also gave us a great workout! Not to mention this event cost us a whopping $3.50 after the bus ride down and $1 park entrance fee. Traveling on a budget can be challenging, but finding fun outdoor activities for cheap makes my heart happy! Stunning views and exercise, what more could you want!?
We assumed after the early wake up, we would be spending the afternoon enjoying a siesta on the beach, however, that plan changed quickly after planning out our remaining days in Hawaii. After much deliberation we agreed to hop on an hour bus ride west to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. The bus ride was an interesting ride as we sat beside a retired woman who was spending her week in Honolulu, celebrating her 42nd wedding anniversary. She filled our hour bus ride with stories of her adventurous life traveling all over the world with her husband. She went on to tell us about how much Hawaii has changed since her first time back in the seventies, but that it has always held a place in her heart which keeps bringing her back. I was at the point where I just wanted to close my eyes, feeling completely exhausted with no energy to respond and form sentences.
Yet, I could sense how much joy she was feeling as she asked us about our travel plans and sharing her travel tips and advice that I continued to engage in conversation. I am pretty sure we made her day which made it all worth it!
The Pearl Harbor Memorial exceeded my expectations. We arrived to find out it was our lucky day. They had only 3 tickets left for the 12:00 tour and it just so happened to be 11:45, score! Then we found out the 75 min tour was absolutely free!? Wooo! Our wallets sure were happy today.
Those 75 mins were full of history and emotions. The film we watched of real footage from the war surely struck a chord within. As we took a boat ride with the Navy across to the memorial, we were surrounded with older men who truly loved their jobs. Sharing all that they have learned about Pearl Harbor and the men that fought that day. We were told that many of the American men that survived that attack have requested to be brought back to Pearl Harbor after passing to rest with their fellow ship mates. This was so beautiful to me. He went on to tell us on December 7th, every year when another survivor has passed, they hold a funeral at the memorial and a diver takes the urn below the sea and places it in the sunken ship to be with their mates. This gave me chills as I imagined the deep connection these men had with their friends and family that passed that day during this horrific event. I can only imagine the thoughts the survivors would have. With over 1500 men on the Arizona ship and 1477 casualties that day, how did the others manage to escape the bombings?
This trip to the memorial has been the highlight of my trip so far. With all that has happened in our countries in the past, it saddens me to see that WWl “the war to end all wars” was no where near the end. As we continue to live in a world where racism still exists and wars are still happening, I can’t help but think, when will we learn? War is not the answer.