My wife, Cindy, and I took a 10-day vacation in Hawaii to celebrate our 25th anniversary, doing all the "touristy" things like taking guided tours, snorkeling, going to luaus, and generally having fun. But our visit to Pearl Harbor—and especially the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial—was a somber, sobering event. I already knew a good deal about the Japanese surprise air attack on the morning of December 7, 1941. But Cindy and I still learned a good deal more at the museum and exhibits there.
At the Arizona Memorial, it's incredible to see the massive hulk of the sunken battleship just under the water, knowing that hundreds of men are still entombed there. The film reel shown at the museum depicting the exploding ship, lifting its mass 10 feet above the water, was jaw-dropping. Most of the men on board, probably sleeping on an early Sunday morning, never had a chance—and likely never knew what hit them. Walking through the memorial was somewhat eerie, with people talking in hushed tones, if talking at all. The large wall at the end of the memorial, listing all the men who perished there, is nothing short of mind-numbing. But I noticed many Japanese visitors looking up at the wall, and then bowing their heads and closing their eyes in contemplation, in reverence. You cannot leave the memorial without feeling humbled.
I was particularly interested in learning more about Mitsuo Fuchida, the commander of the Japanese attack force on Pearl Harbor. Read More