Saturday, 4 December
one of my former students from 8th grade physical science class (now an Army captain -but Navy beat them a week later, so
it’s ok!), who gave us a fantastic island tour. Started at the Punchbowl Crater and the Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific,
then to the Byodo-In Temple. What a beautiful, serene place! Continued our tour along the coast…Chinaman’s Hat,
Bellows Beach, and made a stop at La’ie Wayspot. I had brought an extra name tag that Dave had worn on his uniform jumper
and Ross had given me a plumeria lei at the start of the tour. He stopped here so I could toss Dave’s name tag into
the Pacific, along with the lei for all of his Concord shipmates, especially the Plankowners. I was very emotional at this
point. So, onward to the Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. No surfing today…..waves were too big! Last stop was a late
lunch. Food trucks everywhere! Thai, Korean, Texas Barbecue…so many choices! Little did we know what tomorrow would
Monday, 6 December
USS Arizona Memorial
Tour today. Boarded the trolley with ponchos and rain hats. Passed by King Kamehameha’s statue and arrived at Pearl
Harbor between downpours. Someone was definitely looking out for us! We toured the memorial and then reboarded the trolley…and
then came the monsoon! Trolley was rigged with Christmas lights and perpetually open windows. Ponchos wear secured as best
as we could to keep rain out, but our seat seemed to be ‘under a waterfall.’. Can you say ‘two drowned rats???’
Very interesting fact about the USS Arizona…she is still leaking oil after
80 years! Note the colors on the water’s surface.
great gift shop here! I’m sure if you contact them, you could get some neat stuff for the ship’s store.
Tuesday, 7 December
80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor!! High school bands from
states memorialized by battleships lost on 7 December 1941 performed…Alabama, Wisconsin, Maryland, Arizona…to
name just a few. Assembly was at Fort DeRussey. One of the highlights of the parade was a 100 year old veteran. Big day tomorrow…COMMISSIONING!!
Wednesday, 8 December
Again, the gods were in our favor. The clouds parted and
the sun took center stage, along with 78 degree weather.
SEATS!! for the commissioning of the USS Daniel K. Inouye (DDG-118). There were many speakers but the governor of Hawaii stood
out among all. He blew one note on a conch shell and asked everyone in the audience to turn and face the mountains and remember
a loved one they had lost. Not a dry eye pier-side. I’m sure it must have been very emotional for Jenny, as she lost
her Dad about 3 years ago. (He was one of her reasons for joining the Navy family). Commander Gilmore, the CO, praised her
crew and recounted all the training they had been through and then gave the command to ‘bring the ship alive.’
So many moving and traditional moments. Benediction ended with the playing of the Navy Hymn, which was yet another emotional
moment. At this point, I was wondering if would ever stop crying. Jenny gave us a tour of the ship…brand new, freshly
painted (3 cheers to the BMs onboard!) and decked out in red, white and blue bunting with her commissioning pennant flying
proudly. She is a sleek, trim ship with a tremendous amount of firepower and 2 helos. She will do us proud, both as an ambassador
and a protector/defender of the seas. We finished the day with a tour of the USS Bowfin Museum, mainly for my older son Skip,
who can tell you all you ever wanted to know about submarine ops in the Pacific during World War ll.
Saturday, 11 December
Bade a sad farewell to this island paradise and all the
people we met along the way. The tour leaders, the ABC workers who started to recognize us, the restaurant workers, etc. We
will miss their friendly and warm welcome that made us feel like ‘ohana.’ Mahalo, Honolulu…we will
All ended well with a Navy win over Army and a smooth, safe,
10 hour flight home - even with a 140 mph tail wind!
May I respectfully
request a reunion here at some point!!?? (Don't know about anyone else Alice, but I'm in favor......Web