celebrate memorial day

As we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend I am reminded of a trip Diana and I took several years ago to Hawaii.  We had the privilege of going to Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day. It is a day I will never forget. 

 

We arrived early at 6:30am to find a line of about 100 people already waiting to get in for the 8am opening. As we waited, we were surprised to see a military car pull up and escort out of the car an elderly man with a Hawaiian shirt on and a sash with medals. The word quickly spread through the line that he was one of the last survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He then proceeded to walk through the line shaking hands, greeting people and accepting hugs from complete strangers. We all thanked him for his service and for coming to the celebration. We also learned that a military band would be playing and that he was in that band. 

 

When we finally were let in the gates we watched the film that they show to everyone who comes through the memorial. It was with mixed feelings that I walked out on the dock to board a boat over to the memorial of the USS Arizona. It was very quiet and everyone was very respectful - something you just don't see very often.

 

Upon arriving at the memorial it was amazing that you could still see the leaking oil coming up from the sunken ship.  Seeing the names of the hundreds of servicemen who lost their lives that day during that sneak attack it was overwhelming.

 

When we got back to the shore - we couldn't believe it but a United States battleship the USS Nimitz was just pulling into the harbor. If you've never seen one you can't even imagine the enormity of one of these ships, over 100,000 tons floating on the water.  As they got closer we saw the crew dressed in their uniforms lined up on the perimeter on the ship. It evoked such a sense of pride in our country and the brave men that served.

 

I still feel honored to have been there that day and heard that band play and see the relatives excitedly wait for their loved ones on the Nimitz as it docked. It's a memory I'll cherish forever.

 

As we celebrate and honor those who serve and have served on this Memorial Day I hope you take a few minutes to watch and share this short video from Operation Gratitude and remember them.