We have heard the stories of Pearl Harbor survivors and veterans from World War II. What a wonderful example of living history. Our first day, we were at Pearl Harbor and met with six survivors and we felt so blessed to hear their stories. The next day we headed out for a small museum that was written up in an old tour guide book. We thought we were heading to a place to learn how to make leis and other Hawaiian crafts. When we arrived at the exact address the museum had closed several years ago, but to our surprise we found Pearl Harbor survivors sitting out in a lounge area to a hotel talking with passers-by. We were so excited to have these men to sit and chat with as if we were in our living room! Then tonight we watched the same men as they drove by on parade floats! The boys were so happy to hear these men call out to them as if we were old friends! This was like no other parade we had ever been to in our lives. The people were cheering...the parade participants were coming right up to us...everyone felt like they were a part of the event. I wish I had gotten a picture of the 90yo veteran who danced down the street to begin the parade...he must have been thinking about his heyday back in the 1940's!
Here are a few of the stories, I was able to jot down when I returned to the hotel:
Frank Mack was at Hickman field during the attack.
Stan Swartz was at Wheeler Army Airfield.
Andrews was a young man of 18yo from Pennsylvania when he came to the islands as a mule driver. Less than a year later, he found himself moving about 2000 animals around the island. Then all of a sudden, he went from mule driver to body recovery detail. He said the first day the bodies were covered with sheets, however, the second day he was told to recover bodies from the bay. He is now 89yo and hoped that he would die soon because all of his loved ones had passed on. We told him that he must still be alive to tell the story. I think he appreciated that because he walked away a little prouder.
We also spoke to three other men who were in a historical book. They were autographing books and we have their stories written. If you would like to hear more, send me a note and I would be glad to share.
We are so pleased that we were a part of this day in history. They say these men are in the sunset of their lives. Even a sunset has a story to tell in the colorful beauty that exists in the sky. These men had their own colorful stories to tell. Not only the story of Pearl Harbor, but how they continued in the military and then adjusted back to civilian life after the war. It also helps us to prepare for the next day to come as it soothes us into a calming rest. The stories they were able to tell, not just of that day 70 years ago but the stories of hope after this attack, help us in our own lives. It will be a day we will never forget. May we all remember what war brings to the world and that the answer is peace. Just as the cranes presented by these Japanese women symbolize.