Picture: The US Flag and the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.
Seeing as how this is the 4th of July weekend, a big Holiday here in the United States where we celebrate the birth of our country, born out of the Revolutionary War, I thought a picture of the US Flag would be just as appropriate as the more traditional fireworks photo.
When we were in Hawaii recently on our family vacation, I felt very strongly about the need to bring my 11-year old son to visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. He’s at that age where he’s really into guns & shoot’em up games with his friends, and playing with his nerf-guns around the house. I know that the shoot’em up video games are fun, and help kids with cathartic relief of the stress they feel from school and household chores, etc.. As much as he enjoys them, I feel even more strongly about teaching him and constantly reinforcing the idea that there’s nothing fun about real guns, killing, or war. Since he recently started playing the Call of Duty video game where the US troops are fighting the Germans, I thought taking him to the Arizona Memorial would give him a first-hand look that war has a real cost; lives.
It was a great experience to be there with just him and myself, and I think it was certainly the civic and educational highlight of our trip.
One quick tourist-related note, though. This was our second trip to Pearl Harbor that week. The first trip was with the entire family a few days before. All of the tourist books say “Get there early” if you want free tickets for the shuttle tours to the Arizona Memorial. They open at 7:00am, and we got there at 9:30 am. We were two people away from the ticket counter when the ranger announces they’ve handed out of all 3,300 tickets for the day, and there are no advance hand-outs for upcoming days. My son & I went back a few days later. At 6:30am, people were already in line to get tickets, and by 7:00am when the gates opened, the line had already snaked back into the parking lot. So when they say, “Get there early,” they should specifically state, get there before 8:00am if you want tickets for that day, or sign-up for a $90.00 / person bus tour in Honolulu where they will give you a free ticket.
I hope everyone enjoys their Fourth of July holiday weekend here in the U.S., and take a moment on our nations birthday to remember why we celebrate, and the cost of our liberties.
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