Blue waves crash below me as our plane silently glides towards our destination. I have been to Hawaii many times before in my life, but this will be different. Rather than the typical beach-goers, we are going to see the true history of Honolulu, the side that many hear of in a lifetime but few ever have the opportunity to experience.
In the distance, the small island that was once the home of so much suffering comes into view. Exiting the plane, the scent of the tropics hits me with a force that is indescribable. Transported to a different time and place, we lug our baggage with us to the rental car.
We are going to see the famed Pearl Harbor in all of its glory. The air is not so polluted here. Combined with the scent of the Hibiscus flowers, this is just the refreshment that I need.
It calms my fears as we slowly near what I feel will be my doom. Our family has prepared for a long time to gain the understanding of the tragedy that happened here in Paradise. After the terrorist attacks in New York City, our interest was peaked of this place.
Past and present became united in a great and terrible way, thus my mind was turned to the past to help me cope with the impacts of the present. Although the attacks were years before, my fears were still present. The war is raging on still.
Living near a chemical depot, the fear of another attack is still eminent in my mind. Out of the corner of my eye a building looms near the water. The chill of the morning air makes my breath almost visible as I step out of the car.
My friend reaches out and grabs my hand to comfort, yet I can barely sense his presence. Grudgingly I pace myself as we enter the museum. Taking the tour, I am connected to the past.
I can feel their pain; see the fear that must have been in them so many years ago. Lives were lost very similarly to how they were lost a few short years ago. Mothers, fathers, friends were all lost.
As we exit the tour and continue on our path to the memorial itself, my heart freezes in its place. Here thousands lost their future. Here, thousands made history, made hope, and made possible the fall of Hitler. As I look into the murky water below, I am still. My heart beat slows to the point where I am not sure my breath is still useful. Everything goes quite. For a brief moment, I am transported back in time. I see the ghosts of those men and women who fought there that day. I hear the knocking on the hull as would have been those many years before. I can hear the cries of the children. I can feel the panic in the air. Then, everything once more goes quiet. Returning home, my life has been changed forever. No longer do I fear, but I look forward to the Legacy that will come through my time. I look towards the future with a new found resolution that either through death or through life, I will show my posterity that there is hope to be found, much like those who died on that day have given me.
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