Seems fitting to post these particular vacation photos today, Memorial Day here in the United States. I love history, but there was still MUCH to be learned about the attack on Pearl Harbor that launched us full-scale into World War II. I came home bubbling with facts and questions for Mike, who sadly did not get to go on this trip... hopefully the stars will align another time. I missed him the whole trip, of course, but never more than the day we went to Pearl Harbor. Mike was born on December 7th (not 1941, though!) and so he's always had that connection and bent towards history.
I'll never forget the solemn peace of the Arizona memorial. It was the perfect day, very early in the morning just a few minutes after the time the Dec. 7th attack would have shattered the dawn. We were allowed in early, which we realized later had been a huge blessing and the day heated up and the crowds swelled.
Despite the number of visitors, it was almost perfectly silent except for the lapping waves and the shuffling feet as people walked quietly from window to window. It was pretty much indescribable, actually. The sense of respect for what had happened here. The sorrow that we have not moved beyond such things. The tangible sense of grief in the air. Grief for the men, and grief for a more innocent us.
I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to go and see this very fitting memorial. We also got to have another once-in-a-lifetime experience during the Final Night Event that Stampin' Up always throws on the last evening of the incentive trip. This time it was a private event aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, the "Mighty Mo."
This historical adventure had an entirely different feel. The 1940's theme was evident all over the place, from costumed interpreters, the canteen and other outbuildings, and a wonderful Stars & Stripes Barbeque (with Stampin' Up touches, naturally!)
After dinner the ship was ours to explore. It was truly moving to stand on the exact spot on the deck where the Japanese surrender was formally accepted... to listen to the guides, all veterans themselves, explain answers to our questions... to marvel at the power of the guns and the miniscule, cramped living quarters of the men.
We were treated to a spectacular Hawaiian sunset and we stayed as long as we could, reluctant to leave. It had been a wonderful trip! Thank you all again SO much, my wonderful customer friends and my encouraging Song of My Heart Demonstrator Team!!