Yesterday I came home from Honolulu after a wonderful two week trip. I haven’t flown anywhere since 2001, but I caught on and enjoyed my flights from Boston to San Francisco to Honolulu.
As I never did quite figure out how to work my tablet and keyboard, I missed posting each day. But I did take notes each day. I had a tour every other day, which allowed me time to soak up just being in Hawaii. I stayed at a nice condo near Waikiki beach, and took a stroll there every day.
I also boldly went where no Jane Fraser had ever been before; out in the city with all its shops and excitement. Three times I went off the beaten path and got lost in the city; three times I had to call a *taxicab to get me back to the hotel. But after a while, I got my bearings.
Everyone I met was helpful and kind. The gals at the front desk were wonderful, and they gave me tips on what not to miss. Oh yes, and I finally had my first shave ice (note that it is not “shaved ice,” but “shave ice.”) It’s a Hawaiian thing, and it was delicious. They grind the ice to nearly powder, and then bathe it in whatever flavors you like. Mine was pineapple and coconut.
Each day was warm and slightly humid, and you sure could pick out us tourists. All the locals would be shivering and wearing hoodies and jackets and even parkas, while we from other places would all be wearing sleeveless dresses, shorts and t-shirts.
The first tour I took was Pearl Harbor. When I went to the front desk to find out when my bus would come by, the lady at the desk told me how moving it was to see it. We both wept a bit, and when I was on the little boat that circles around the Pearl Harbor memorial, I felt both awed and sad.
I have always had a huge aversion to seeing things under water that shouldn’t belong there; such as wrecks, planes, subs, and so on. Even seeing them on TV makes me lose my breath.
However, on that day, the memorial was being worked on, so we could not walk on it. But from the boat, you could lean over the side and see what was left of the USS Arizona. All I could feel was pity and sorrow for all those young lives lost.
Many of the WWII survivors who luckily were not killed at Pearl Harbor, and also those who lost loved ones there wanted to honor their brothers and sisters in a unique way. Many of these folks request that their cremains rest with the USS Arizona to be with their buddies.
The young sailor who was narrating the trip told us this: a total of 334 crewmembers survived the USS Arizona sinking. Some of them have chosen to be interred on the USS Arizona upon their death.
- Only USS Arizona survivors can be interred on the USS Arizona. Pearl Harbor survivors can have their ashes scattered over Pearl Harbor.
- The memorial service and interment of deceased USS Arizona Survivors is conducted on the USS Arizona Memorial. The service includes a committal service, interment, rifle salute, TAPS, flag presentation, and plaque presentation.
- The urns of the deceased are placed in the well of Barbette No. Four.
The sailor told us that when divers take the urns down to the USS Arizona, they raise their urns together, and then gently place them in the well of Barbette No. Four.
It was a somber and moving experience I will never forget.
*The local taxi cabs are all from the same company, called “The Cab.” The buses too were called “The Bus.”