It was important to me to take the kids to Pearl Harbor during our vacation here in Hawaii. Their grandfather, my dad. served in the Army from 1940-45, stationed primarily during WWII in New Guinea. He died many years before either Mr13 or MissEight were born. His service was the defining event in his life and by visiting the beautiful memorial, perhaps the kids can know something of that time, and a relative they never met.

The Pearl Harbor visitor center has been completely renovated since I was last there in 1983, and it is lovely. Before we arrived, I spoke with the kids about the importance of being quiet and respectful at all times while we were there. It is so hard for them to imagine, I know, that amidst all the spectacular natural beauty, so many perished in such a terrible attack. There is a line to walk at such a place, allowing yourself to understand and try to feel something of the depth of what happened, while taking heart at all the brave, good people who helped those who survived, and how we rebuild after tragedy.

We had some time before we were to visit the USS Arizona, so we took a quick tour of the USS Bowfin, a surviving WWII-era submarine. It was very interesting, and even more cramped and claustrophobic than I imagined a sub would be. I cannot imagine not going completely mad on there past a day or so. It's far more a machine than a living space for people. Man.

Imagine being the guys who had to sleep in the Torpedo Room. Oy.

Back on deck. Ahhh.

We then headed off to the theater to see a short film about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and then on to the boat to visit the area where the USS Arizona sank on December 7, 1941. Over 1000 men lost their lives on the Arizona, and remain entombed there to this day.

The people who were old enough to have lived through WWII have a different look to their faces than other tourists, and they stare at the names of the perished longer.

Amazingly, oil still leaks out from the Arizona to this day. There are half a million gallons still stored in her, and when the ship finally collapses from rust the oil will spill out. There is a containment plan readied and the situation is always monitored.

After the boat returned us to shore, we spent some time at the museums at the Visitor Center, had some cool drinks and decided to pop over to Waikiki to lighten our moods a bit. It's so amazingly built up now, but the beach is the beach is the beach. Tourists, surfers, street people, hotties, kiddies...everyone and everything is there.

As we left the beach, some interesting words and a house covered with birds.

Hot and tired, it was time for some shave ice at Puka Dog. Mine was Sour Lemon and I made faces while I ate that made the kids giggle.

What I really needed was a coffee, so we stopped for that. I must say that I have never seen a bottle of liquid sugar at any coffee house back in Seattle.

We got back to our car right before it started to rain, and we all squealed in delight to see a rainbow. Quite a day.