I was lucky enough to visit Hawaii for work, and while I was there I was able to take in some tourist adventures.  My trip coincided with the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, so one of my priorities was to visit the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

I also did a bunch of other things like hike to the top of Diamond Head, go on a sunset cruise, etc, however the most profound time of my long 2 week work trip was the couple of hours I spent at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

The day of my visit was rainy and dreary and kind of set the tone of the day.  Of course being there, the actual spot where the attack took place, reading the history, seeing the images and spending time on the USS Arizona was profound in it’s own way, but I think the trip became even more meaningful in the days and weeks that followed.

USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor
USS Arizona Memorial –  Pearl Harbor Hawaii

It might be because I was pretty consumed with the work responsibilities I had while I was there, and couldn’t really take the time (or the energy) to fully explore my feelings at the time, but I also think that my visit to the WWII National Monument is having even more impact on me as time goes on because of what is currently happening in our country.

While I was in Hawaii, believe it or not, because of the tensions we are escalating with North Korea,  for the first time since the 1990’s Hawaii reinstated their air raid siren testing.  It began while I was there, it was spooky.  It was also an “in your face” reality check, a harsh reminder of how fragile and important our global role is and how important it is that we treat others in the world with humility and empathy, and do ALL we can to prevent conflict.

I would like to encourage anyone who thinks that starting a war is ever the answer to anything, to visit the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, or any of the American Civil War battle fields, to remember the great sacrifice and toll a war can take on humanity.

What I learned about the Park:

This National Monument is a great testament to the valor and courage of the servicemen and the civilians that were involved in the day that changed our history.  One of the most profound parts of my visit was taking a boat ride out to the USS Arizona.  Nine hundred men died, trapped and buried in the hull of that ship.  Also about 500,000 gallons of oil was trapped in the ship and has been slowly released, drop by drop for the last 76 years, and still continues today.  These drops of oil are known as “black tears”.  It was one of the most moving moments, just sitting at the side of the ship, watching these “black tears” escape and be washed away in the ocean waves, it reinforced for me the sadness of that historic day, and all the loss that war can bring.

What I learned about myself:

I am grateful to all who have served and are currently serving in our armed services.  Thank you all for your service, your strength, valor, courage and sacrifice.  It is sometimes easy for me, in my day to day busyness, to forget that we live in a very small world, and what I do or don’t do can have huge consequences.  My visit to this national monument and my profound feelings resulting from it has revived and re energized my commitment to live a life of purpose and meaning and love and compassion.

Some thoughts for you:

I thought I’d share a quote with you:

“Watch your thoughts for they become your words.  Watch your words for they become your actions.  Watch your actions for they become your habits.  Watch your habits for they become your character.  Watch your character for it will become your destiny”.  Author unknown

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