Fly your flags at half-staff today, for as President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Congress in 1941, today is “a day that will live in infamy”.
Sixty-eight years ago the Japanese attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor.Â The attack began at dawn and killed 2,400 American servicemen and 68 civilians. It crippled the U.S. Pacific Fleet and caused the U.S. to enter World War II.
I’ve been to the U.S.S. Arizona memorial in Honolulu. It is very emotional. Seeing the wreckage. Knowing that the sunken ship is a tomb for 1,000+ servicemen. Reading the list of names – lives that were lost – and understanding that this was the beginning of America’s involvement in yet another war. Tragic. Emotional. Heart wrenching. It was a very somber experience.
I mean, if you’re going to take a trip all the way to Hawaii, you HAVE to go see the memorial, right? I know, I know. Most people are in Hawaii as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Probably on a honeymoon. Or an anniversary. Something having to do with love.
That was my plan, too. My loyal readers will know that I’ve been to Hawaii just one time. What should have been a beautiful wedding on the beach and a week filled with newlywed bliss turned out to be a groom-less honeymoon. We broke up just days before the trip. I forfeited his ticket and changed my plans to accompany my family to Maui and O’ahu. My Hawaiian experience was pure hell.
While there, my family and I went to a luau. Of course, during the dining experience the inevitable question would arise, “Who’s here on a honeymoon?” And half of the audience would applaud and turn to kiss their new spouse. Then the next question “Who’s here for their anniversary?” And the other half of the audience would applaud and turn to kiss their beloved. The fire of new love may be lost but the look of comfort filling their eyes, knowing that they’d be spending the rest of their lives in the company of their one true love. I used my sarcastic abilities to roll my eyes so hard that I gave myself a brain hemorrhage. Then I went to the bar to do shots with the .2 percent of the people who were in Hawaii on a business trip. Love, schmov.
So, it wasn’t too difficult for me to take a trip to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial while I was in Honolulu. I was already in a bad mood. Heart broken. Emotionally distraught. Fine, let’s do this. I’m ready to see the sunken ship – the carnage of lost lives – since I was already experiencing the emotional turmoil of a failed relationship. Ugh. Once on the ship, I think most of us initially were in the same emotional state. It was very moving. But even the loss of life and tragedy of it all couldn’t quell the pheromones in the air.
Newlywed #1: “Dude. That’s, like, so sad.”
Newlywed #2 “Oh, sugar-booger, it doesn’t matter because we’re in love.”
Kiss, embrace, meld, deepen kiss. After all, it is their honeymoon. As I roll my eyes to a degree worthy of yet another brain hemorrhage, I push them aside so I can get a better look of the carnage as my inner child screams “Aaaaarrrrgh!”
I didn’t love that I wasn’t in love during my trip to Hawaii.
So, when Ben mentioned that he’d like to go to Hawaii, I immediately got that metallic taste in my mouth. Had I been able to speak I’m sure it would have all come out as stammering; “You… why… what… I mean… Huh? Why?” He said that he wanted to see a real, live, active volcano. My sarcastic inner voice leaned toward telling him that my heart once looked like an active volcano and too bad he couldn’t see that, but my grown-up parental ability put that inner child in time out. I said, “That would be cool.” And started researching other live volcanic areas to replace the lava laden memory of Hawaii. In my research, I found that there are many volcanoes in a perpetual state of eruption, with the most lava-producing activity as follows: Kilauea (Hawaii), Mt Etna (Italy), Piton de la Fournaise (RÃ©union), Nyamuragira, (D.R. Congo). If we’re going to take him to see a real-live volcano, it looks like we’ll be going to Hawaii.
Isn’t it amazing how I can make any topic revolve around me and my emotional state? It’s a gift.
So, take a moment today to research the fascinating history of Pearl Harbor. Or thank a veteran. Or book a trip to Hawaii. Or just eat some cotton candy. Because it’s National Cotton Candy Day as well.
Did you know that cotton candy used to be called Fairy Floss? Fascinating.
More later. 🙂