|Pearl Harbor as it appears today. |
The plaque reads "I will never forget."
If you are able to make it to Oahu (or you live here in the Hawaiian Islands) definitely make it a point to visit the Arizona Memorial and the surrounding historical sites - Ford Island, Ewa Field and others - to connect with the past and consider the implications for our future. As I mentioned in my national column today, for years I've made it a point to regularly visit the WWII sites and battlefields because it helps me as a political scientist to remain aware and humble to the fact that policies don't just exist in a vacuum, they impact human lives and have serious implications for generations to come. Hawaii is very blessed to enjoy liberty and freedom and I know all too well that this life we enjoy did not come without great sacrifice. So this being said, be sure to take a time out tomorrow if you can and visit the Arizona Memorial. The National Park Service has brand new, expanded and renovated facilities at Pearl Harbor which offer an incredible historical and educational experience for visitors.
I don't want to contaminate this moment in American history with politics so all I will say is this: thank you to all those men and women who served and sacrificed in the line of duty; thank you to men like Ensign Francis Flaherty of the USS Oklahoma who died at his post with his flashlight on, even as the ship capsized and sunk, so that his crew could survive; thank you to all of the families who lost a loved one in the defense of freedom; and thank you to God Almighty for allowing us to prevail through that war. Having been born on the island of Guam, I personally owe a deep debt of gratitude to those who liberated the Pacific and enabled us to live in freedom from tyranny.