Serious content alert. My dad served in the Pacific, but it was deeper into the war and so he was never in any fighting. He was on an ammunition ship out of Ford Island and when they came to visit us in Hawaii, it was certainly a very different place. We were stationed at Schofield Barracks although my first year I was assigned to Fort Shafter which is close to Pearl Harbor. For anyone familiar with the island of Oahu, there are military installations all over the island. Schofield Barracks, away from the beaches, included the mountains with Kole-Kole Pass where the Japanese aircraft came through to remain undetected before the strikes. Wheeler Army Airfield is nearby and that’s where a few aircraft were able to get off and briefly engage the Japanese.
As you can imagine, there are multiple observance ceremonies each year and they are each powerful in their own way. The Arizona Memorial is of course open all year round as is Punchbowl Cemetery (National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is the proper name). Punchbowl is not exclusive to World War II. Ironically, Richie and I will be doing a webinar this evening about his years of shipwreck exploration, many of which are military casualties. The date is an coincidence because Best Publishing wanted to slide the webinar in before the holiday rush and Wednesdays are a common night for scuba clubs to meet.
In looking at the significance of today, how sad it is that 75 years later we still have the level of conflicts we do. Hundreds of millions of lives lost and harmed because we have yet to find ways to live peacefully. If you read history, progress has been made, although not nearly enough. May the near future be a time when we can move closer to what should be a reality and not merely something to be hoped for.