Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pearl Harbour

Kapaa Sunrise 2011
My birthday is December 8.

“OOOh, the day after Pearl Harbour!” Admit it, you thought it.

Unless you’re a music fan, and then you thought “The day John Lennon was killed.” I like you better now.

It used to drive me crazy when I would hear the thing about Pearl Harbour when people would ask me when my birthday was. Growing up in Canada, Pearl Harbour meant the U.S. finally got off their fence sitting butts and joined the war, giving us fresh soldiers and helping us win the war. (My view of WWII is slanted having a Nana who is from Edinburgh, Scotland, married a Canadian soldier and became a war bride. So when I say ‘us’, I am quoting my Nana.)

In 1998 I visited Pearl Harbour, went to the visitors center, and saw the Arizona Monument. I was forever changed. My attitude was adjusted. It’s good to see things from other angles so that you can get the whole story and form an educated unbiased opinion.

On September 11, 2001, I was nursing my 13 month old baby and watching the news when Ron Bird of KUTV announced that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I thought “What kind of a dummy flies into a building in New York City?”. It was a beautiful, quiet lovely day before it all went to heck and our lives were changed forever. It was dubbed a “Day of Infamy”.

December 7, 1941 was previously referred to as a Day of Infamy.

On December 7, 2011, I was standing on the beach at the Kapaa Shores on Kauai. It was 6:30am. We were waiting for the sunrise. It was so calm and quiet. The breeze was gently blowing; the waves were making their constant crashing rhythm; the coconut trees were rustling and whispering in the wind; the sky and the sea were all silver in the pre-dawn light. There was a quiet, calm atmosphere. I felt such peace as I stood with my family around me on the beach waiting for the beautiful sunrise.

Then it dawned on me. I turned to my husband and said, “It’s Pearl Harbour Day.” I’m getting goosebumps and my eyes are tearing up as I type. The feeling that rushed over me was so powerful. I felt as if I was there seventy years ago experiencing the calm, peaceful and beautiful Hawaiian morning before it all went to heck and everyone’s lives were changed forever.

I watched a Pearl Harbour survivor speak at the Arizona Memorial about that day. I did the math and realized that he was an eighteen-year-old kid on that day. I was and continue to be overwhelmed by that.

I have an even more renewed respect for those who served then and continue to serve now. I honour those who were there and lost dear loved ones and fought to defend their country the best they could. I honour those whose tombs are the ships still buried in Pearl Harbour.

I am proud to have my birthday associated with that Day of Infamy.

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