By Kevin Nelson
It is hard to predict when the sadness and solemnity will hit you when you visit Pearl Harbor. For me it was when we set out on the Navy vessel across the channel that on a December morning in 1941 turned into hell on earth, a bloody chaos of explosions and smoke and fire and bombs.
December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day, and 2014 marked the 73rd anniversary of the attack that brought the United States into World War II. Ceremonies were held at the Pearl Harbor Historical Sites on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, honoring the more than 2,000 American servicemen killed that day as well as those who survived the destruction.
The ceremonies—another purpose of which is to keep the memory of these events alive to younger generations of Americans—were a poignant and emotionally charged experience for those who attended. But a trip to Pearl Harbor is well worth it any time of the year.
We went in August as part of a family vacation filled with the usual Hawaiian pleasures of beaches, sun, snorkeling, surfing and shave ice. I had been there as a boy, and now as a grown man I wanted my three children to see the place that had meant so much to their late grandfather, a Navy radio technician who had come through Pearl Harbor on his way to fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific. Continue reading