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Trip Report 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

Trip Report 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

Old Dec 11th, 2016, 04:51 PM
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Trip Report 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

A friend, Renae, and I went to Oahu for 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack.

We went to a couple of the 75th anniversary events, went to some shows and also toured the island some.

This was the trip of my lifetime!
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 04:52 PM
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Day 1, Thursday, December 1

Uneventful flight from Minneapolis to Oahu, arriving at HNL at 3:30pm.

Nice to touchdown in Hawaii again for me, first time ever in Hawaii for Renae. Many (including us) on the plane clapped & cheered as we touched down.

Picked up our one checked bag & took the Thrifty Car Rental shuttle to the agency.

Plan is to go to Thrifty Car Rental, pick up car, drive to Waikiki & check into the condo at Waikiki Sunset and then walk to the beach to watch the sunset. Didn't quite happen that way! Spent over an hour at Thrifty! Fairly long line and only two clerks for 45 minutes. They added a 3rd, then a 4th clerk and we were out of there after another 15 minutes. This was our only major glitch the entire week.

Change in plans! Drove to Magic Island (Aina Moana Beach Park) at Ala Moana Beach Park to watch the sunset. Got there just in time to watch a gorgeous sunset. Stuck around for about 1/2 hour after sunset to watch Waikiki, Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and Diamond Head transpose from day to night. Made up for the glitch as Magic Island is one of my favorite spots to watch the sunset.

Drove to the condo, checked in & called it quits for the night as it was 11pm CST (yet only 7pm HST).

Very nice condo unit #1007 (Aston) Waikiki Sunset. One bedroom, lanai, free parking & no resort fees. Mountain view & partial Diamond Head view. Reservations through Koko Resorts.

https://kokoresorts.com/
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 04:53 PM
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Day 2, Friday, December 2

Long day, but great day!

Had made reservations in advance for USS Arizona Memorial for 8am (someone had cancelled & we were lucky to get them).

Tried to make reservations for Polynesian Cultural Center for Saturday, but they were fully booked for Saturday. They are closed on Sundays. Already had plans for Monday & Wednesday. So we booked PCC for Friday after going to USS Arizona Memorial.

Second glitch! Traffic was terrible during rush hour just getting to H-1 freeway to get to Pearl Harbor Visitors Center. Our plan was to get to the Visitors Center about 7am. We left at 6:30am and made it to the Visitors Center around 7:40pm. By the time we parked & got our tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial we barely made it on time.

Waikiki Sunset is on a one way street toward Ala Wai Blvd. Ala Wai Blvd is a one way street to McCully St. to an entrance to H-1. We took it (though I knew it would take longer, I had no idea how much longer). With hindsight we should have taken the one way streets back to Waikiki and taken Kapahulu Ave to H-1.

But other than worrying about getting there on time, another glitch that did not matter much. We made it on time for our USS Arizona Memorial tour.

We watched the film, took the ferry ride to & from the USS Arizona Memorial & spent about 15 minutes on the memorial. First time for Renae! About 10-15th time for me!

The previous evening after we called it quits early, I was watching the local news. An article that USS John C. Stennis, CVN 74, will be arriving, "tomorrow, December 2". Renae is asleep! I'm thinking, "that's the day we will be there for our USS Arizona Memorial tour." I know from past experience that these U.S. carriers arrive around 9am-10am.

So we added a USS Bowfin tour to make sure we would still be there to see USS John C. Stennis.

After the USS Arizona Memorial film & loading onto the ferry to the USS Arizona Memorial, there is the USS John C. Stennis in all of it's glory coming into port & turning around to moor to it's port.

We watched John C. Stennis for a while as it turned & then headed to it's moor.

Then we went to USS Bowfin Museum & on USS Bowfin. What a thrill! While we had headphones for the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center & USS Bowfin, I made a decision to ditch the headphones as we were on a tight schedule for the day that included PCC.

I do recommend that others do Pearl Harbor museums and PCC on separate days. Didn't work out for us!

Groceries at Safeway on Kapahulu!

Lunch at the condo & then onto PCC!

Took Likelike Highway to PCC & back to Waikiki.

At PCC:

Canoe parade, Samoa & Tonga villages, canoe rides, Ali'i Luau and the evening show, "Ha: Breath of Life", the best Polynesian show in Hawaii.

Back to Waikiki!
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 04:54 PM
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Day 3, Saturday, December 3

I hiked Diamond Head for sunrise. I didn't make it to the top as there were already over 1000 there for sunrise. I did make it outside of the crater to see the sunrise. It was cloudy so no sun or colors. I took the new route down.

Driving tour #1

Stops included Diamond Head Crater (drove inside the crater to show Renae what it was like to be inside a volcanic crater, Leahi Crater, aka Diamond Head) Diamond Head Lookouts, Hanauma Bay for photos (stayed at the top), Lanai Lookout, Halona Cove (From Here to Eternity Beach) & Halona Blowhole, Makapuu Lookout, Waimanalo Bay Recreation Area (my favorite beach on Oahu), stopped for plate lunches at K&K BBQ & took them to Kailua Beach for a picnic, Lanikai Beach and Pali Lookout.

Fourever Fab (Beatles) show at Princess Kaiulani Hotel. This was a surprise for Renae. Both of us like the Beatles. This group was really good, though a couple of them looked old. We were in the front row. Renae was selected to play the tambourines during one of the songs. We really had a good time at the show.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 04:55 PM
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Day 4, Sunday, December 4

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet - I think this is the best place on Oahu to buy souvenirs

Drive through Historic Honolulu including past Iolani Palace.

Te Moana Nui show at Princess Kaiulani Hotel - This included the buffet dinner at Pikake Terrace, really good food here! Received a lei greeting from a friend, Trisha, who used to dance with my daughter, Leilani. Trisha still dances in the show! Found out that Leilani had paid for the show as an early Christmas present! Thank you Leilani! For those that don't know, my avatar is a photo of Leilani!

We liked PCC better as it had the day villages, the canoe pageant, canoe rides, the Ali'i Luau and Ha: Breath of Life. The dancers at Te Moana Nui are the best on Oahu and the dinner at Pikake Terrace was one of the best I've ever had on Oahu.

Day 5, Monday, December 5

I went for a walk for about one hour.

Roundtop Drive/Tantalus Drive stopping at Puu Ualakaa State Park for the lookout there. I think this is one of the best natural lookouts in the U.S. that overlooks any city.

National Cemetery of the Pacific - What a gem! And to be there during the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor made it really special for us! Memorial Walk to the lookout! Lady Columbia! At the monument, we looked at the murals depicting all of the battles in the Pacific Ocean during the various wars. We went inside the historic chapel.

Gary Sinise & Lt. Dan Band and From Here to Eternity - This was Army night! We shook hands and thanked many of those presently in the Army that were in attendance for their service.

The Lt. Dan Band was very good and Gary Sinise did a great job as host. He mentioned that he was on an American Airlines Honor Flight with some of the Pearl Harbor survivors & that he was honored to help serve them their dinners.

We stayed for about 1/2 of the "From Here to Eternity" movie. I've seen it before many times. Renae said she would watch the rest when she got home.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 04:56 PM
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Day 6, Tuesday, December 6

I went for a walk for about 1/2 hour.

Driving tour #2!

Byodo-In Temple (Valley of the Temples) - I really like this temple. It is set in a valley with mountains behind it. There is a gong (closed that day for repairs), a koi (carp) pond, and black swans and of course the very scenic temple.

Stops included Macadamia nut farm, Kualoa Regional Park (Mokoli`i Island aka Chinaman's Hat), Kahana Bay Beach Park, Laie Beach, Mormon Temple (drive through), Laie Pt., Kawela Bay, Romy's Shrimp Truck in Kahuku, Ehukai Beach Park (Banzai Pipeline), I did Ehukai Pillbox Hike while Renae watched the surfers, Waimea Bay, Laniakea Beach (no turtles) and Dole Pineapple for the pineapple garden.

In the evening, we went to see the Christmas decorations outside of Honolulu Hale and the Christmas tree and wreath display inside of Honolulu Hale. Very nice! I have fond memories of this as I went annually with my grandchildren while I lived on Oahu.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 04:59 PM
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Sunday, December 7, 1941 - On a bright Sunday morning, Japanese planes attacked Kanehoe Naval Air Base, Wheeler Field, Bellows Field, Schofield Barracks, Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor.

Monday, December 8, 1941 - President Roosevelt gave his speech which included, "Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

Day 7, Wednesday, December 7, 75th anniversary of the attack on Oahu

We watched the 75th Anniversary Commemoration on a local TV station. Great videos of the past & of the present! Great speakers who reflected back on that horrific date! They talked about the heroes of that date, those who gave their lives on that date, those who survived and went on to fight the war for another four years! Those who have passed since the war had ended! Those who are still survivors of that horrific war and those survivors in attendance at the day's commemoration! Very moving!

We went to Pearl Harbor Visitors Center and took the bus (several commercial buses chartered by the park service from Roberts Hawaii for the December 7th events) to Ford Island for the USS Oklahoma Commemoration. We walked around the pier to see USS Missouri close up. She is huge! I had previously toured USS Missouri.

Then we walked around the USS Oklahoma Memorial for a few minutes before the ceremony. Very moving! This link explains more about the memorial:

https:/…

Other than the first couple rows of chairs that were reserved for USS Oklahoma survivors, other Pearl Harbor survivors, speakers and other dignitary, it was open seating. We sat right behind a WWII Veteran and I sat right next to a WWII and Korean War Veteran. We shook their hands & thanked them for their service.

The ceremony was very moving with the presentation of colors, the national anthem and Hawaii state song, great speeches, wreath presentations, a moment of reflection speech by Rebekah Vezey, a rifle salute, taps & retiring of colors.

Rebekah Vezey's speech about her grandfather and other USS Oklahoma sailors brought this Vietnam Veteran to tears. I thought those that gave their lives on that horrific date. I thought about all of those that survived and went on to continue during the war for the next 4 years or so. I thought about my father and all of the others who joined the armed forces shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many of them gave their lives during the war. Many, like my father, survived and had families of their own.

After the ceremony, we stayed and shook the hands and thanked the USS Oklahoma survivors and other WWII Veterans that were there. We shook the hand of Rebekah Vezey and thanked her for her speech and her father's service.

An article about Rebekah Vezey and her grandfather Ed Vezey

Sunday, December 7, 1941 - On a bright Sunday morning, Japanese planes attacked Kanehoe Naval Air Base, Wheeler Field, Bellows Field, Schofield Barracks, Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor.

Monday, December 8, 1941 - President Roosevelt gave his speech which included, "Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

Day 7, Wednesday, December 7, 75th anniversary of the attack on Oahu

We watched the 75th Anniversary Commemoration on a local TV station. Great videos of the past & of the present! Great speakers who reflected back on that horrific date! They talked about the heroes of that date, those who gave their lives on that date, those who survived and went on to fight the war for another four years! Those who have passed since the war had ended! Those who are still survivors of that horrific war and those survivors in attendance at the day's commemoration! Very moving!

We went to Pearl Harbor Visitors Center and took the bus (several commercial buses chartered by the park service from Roberts Hawaii for the December 7th events) to Ford Island for the USS Oklahoma Commemoration. We walked around the pier to see USS Missouri close up. She is huge! I had previously toured USS Missouri.

Then we walked around the USS Oklahoma Memorial for a few minutes before the ceremony. Very moving! This link explains more about the memorial:

https:/…

Other than the first couple rows of chairs that were reserved for USS Oklahoma survivors, other Pearl Harbor survivors, speakers and other dignitary, it was open seating. We sat right behind a WWII Veteran and I sat right next to a WWII and Korean War Veteran. We shook their hands & thanked them for their service.

The ceremony was very moving with the presentation of colors, the national anthem and Hawaii state song, great speeches, wreath presentations, a moment of reflection speech by Rebekah Vezey, a rifle salute, taps & retiring of colors.

Rebekah Vezey's speech about her grandfather and other USS Oklahoma sailors brought this Vietnam Veteran to tears. I thought those that gave their lives on that horrific date. I thought about all of those that survived and went on to continue during the war for the next 4 years or so. I thought about my father and all of the others who joined the armed forces shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many of them gave their lives during the war. Many, like my father, survived and had families of their own.

After the ceremony, we stayed and shook the hands and thanked the USS Oklahoma survivors and other WWII Veterans that were there. We shook the hand of Rebekah Vezey and thanked her for her speech and her father's service.

An article about Rebekah Vezey and her grandfather Ed Vezey

theadanews.com/news/local_news/safeguarding-…

We took the bus back to the Visitors Center, then drove back to our condo.

I watched the Pearl Harbor Parade on Kalakaua Ave. Renae was too tired & had sore feet. The parade was very moving. I was able to see perhaps 100 Pearl Harbor survivors that were in cars as they went by. Those attending the parade, including myself, were very respectful to those heroes. We applauded & thanked them as they went by. There were many marching bands, floats and other participants in the parade. I will especially remember the heroes!

A very moving day for us!

We took the bus back to the Visitors Center, then drove back to our condo.

I watched the Pearl Harbor Parade on Kalakaua Ave. Renae was too tired & had sore feet. The parade was very moving. I was able to see perhaps 100 Pearl Harbor survivors that were in cars as they went by. Those attending the parade, including myself, were very respectful to those heroes. We applauded & thanked them as they went by. There were many marching bands, floats and other participants in the parade. I will especially remember the heroes!

A very moving day for us!
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 05:08 PM
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Tiny Url for link about Rebekah Vezey & her grandfather Ed Vezey in reply #6:

http://tinyurl.com/hfzs6a9

Link to USS Oklanoma Memorial article in reply #6:

https://www.hawaii.com/oahu/attracti...homa-memorial/

Sorry about double posting some info in reply #6.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 05:09 PM
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Day 8, Thursday, December 8

It is raining out so I could not do my morning walk. The rain gods were with us the entire week! Though it rained some during our stay, it was always during the night or like on this day when it was pretty meaningless to us.

I drove to Kakaako to give leftover food & some clothing to the homeless. We had also gone there the previous day, on our way to Pearl Harbor, to give them some clothing. They were very appreciative! This was planned before our trip as we knew we would need the extra room in the luggage for souvenirs.

We finished packing, checked out of the condo drove to the airport to drop off Renae and our luggage. I returned the car to Thrifty & took the shuttle to the airport.

A couple of minor glitches! Flight to LA was 1/2 hour late. Flight from LA to Minneapolis was one hour late. The second glitch was OK as the sunrise was impressive as we were nearing Minneapolis. Had the plane been on time it would have been still dark. And because of the delays, I was able to do my walking at the airport.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 05:10 PM
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Reflections

I am so glad to have had my friend, Renae, go with me on this trip. We will forever share the moments, whether they be of military events remembering the attack on Oahu or whether that be of touring the island or whether they be of the shows we went to.

I will forever remember being on the same hallowed ground with Pearl Harbor survivors and other WWII survivors. I was able to shake many of their hands and personally thank those heroes. They were very appreciative!

I will forever remember how all of the speakers were so respectful and spoke with dignity as they talked about the attack on Oahu and as they talked about those that gave their lives on that horrific date and of those that went on to continue fighting during WWII and as they talked about those who have passed on since the war and as they talked about the survivors that are still with us.

I thought about my father and though he is no longer with us, I thanked him for his service to our country.

Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band were very good. Gary Sinise was very respectful as he hosted the show. He eloquently spoke of those who gave their lives & of the survivors.

Glithes! Actually there were no glitches! We were in paradise! We were there to honor & remember those heroes!

The slogan of the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is, "Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future."
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 06:03 PM
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The driving tours #1 and #2 that I mentioned are listed in this old thread:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...trip-to-hi.cfm

The driving tours are still valid.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 06:26 PM
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Sounds like a fantastic trip! Thanks so much for sharing such a detailed report.
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Old Dec 11th, 2016, 10:15 PM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lee Ann
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Old Dec 12th, 2016, 06:56 AM
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Thank you for this TR! Love to visit and pay my respects at Pearl Harbor and I learn more and more history on each trip there. Incredible you got to be there for the 75th Anniversary and to shake the hands of survivors.
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Old Dec 20th, 2016, 09:50 AM
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Awesome trip report. Definitely incredible you go to be there for the 75th anniversary.
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Old Dec 20th, 2016, 10:02 AM
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Dusty,

I think you might enjoy reading "Tommy's Wars : Paradise to Hell and Back"
by Howard Fields. It tells the story of how a Japanese family in Hawaii's lives were disrupted by the action of both governments. It's a real story of Tommy's family. He became th course Marshall at Kaanapali Golf Course.

A very powerful story.
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Old Dec 20th, 2016, 10:16 AM
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What an amazing trip. We would love to do something like this and it's def on our bucket list. My wife is actually a 5th cousin to Husband E. Kimmel. Talk about DISTANT relative but it does make for some interesting conversations.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old Dec 20th, 2016, 04:09 PM
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Thank all of you!

I am a U.S. Navy and Vietnam Veteran. I was stationed on two ships home ported at Pearl Harbor for a total of five years.

When I heard about some of the events that were planned (back in May), I started thinking about how nice it would be to go there, see some of the events, thank those heroes & shake their hands.

Then it became one of my bucket list things to do, be there for the 75th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack!
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