We have just returned from Hawaii.  I never wanted to go to Hawaii.  Beaches, men of war, hot humid weather, bugs and hula dancers just never had a hold on me.

 

We set up this trip a year ago, anticipating our empty nest.  We researched things to do, bought our tickets and reserved our accommodations on Bellows Air Force Station.  The trip was wonderful in so many ways.  We reconnected with two nieces we hadn’t spent time with in years, and who were absolutely awesome hostesses.  We created memories with my sister and brother-in-law which we will enjoy over and over again through the hundreds of pictures we all took, and in addition to the touristy things and shopping till we dropped, we learned a bit of history.

 

I really didn’t know a lot about WWII history because I was bored with it in high school.  To me it was just so many dates and names.  Homeschooling our children changed that for me.  I wish I could have taken them to Hawaii to study that part of American history on site.  We visited the Arizona Memorial which commemorates the surprise attack by the Japanese on our ships and military installations in and around Pearl Harbor and brought about our entrance into the war.

 

 

 

We visited the USS Missouri and saw how our fighting men worked and lived and where the Japanese surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur. 

 

Then we went to Punchbowl Cemetery where thousands of our heroes are buried.  There is a majestic mother’s monument there with the engraving “The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice on the altar of freedom.”  It was certainly sobering to me because we have a son who has just been inducted into the Air Force and who believes in his solemn duty to serve his country.   I pray that he won’t have to give his up his life in battle, but I am not in control of his future.

 

In an age when we are impatient about finding immediate closure to our conflicts with other nations, it is easy to forget the enormous sacrifices made by our brave American sailors, airmen and soldiers who fought in the past and continue to fight for our freedoms around the world.  Right now, Mike is dealing with juggling schedules, pleasing his officers, writing papers and making his own way at UD.  All this is preparation for life—wherever it takes him.  If he is called to war, I pray that he will serve honorably in the tradition of the American men who have served in conflicts around the world and were willing to put their lives on the line.  He has a tradition to uphold of great -uncles who served in both the European and Pacific theaters of the Second World War.

 

Because of its critical place in American history, I found Hawaii to be a very interesting place to visit.  The beaches are beautiful, the water sublime, the scenery magnificent, and yes, the hula dancers are graceful and lovely.

 

 

But it was the time spent with family and the history lessons that made the trip worthwhile for me.

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