On our recent to trip to Hawaii my husband and I had Pearl Harbor on our list of things that we MUST do.
Our concern was would our 6 year old understand the significance of Pearl Harbor and give it the reverence that it deserves?
The answer is a resounding YES. let me start from the beginning….
We used the Waikiki Trolley for the trip from central Waikiki to Pearl Harbor. On the way we stopped off at the swap meet market at the Aloha Stadium.
The market was a fantastic place to pick up souvenirs at great prices. I bought 10 flower hair clips (yes 10!!! Little excessive) for $10. I paid $5 for 1 in Waikiki – so if you need souvenirs this is the place for you.
There is food vendors – fresh fruit sellers – shaved ice – Hawaiian craft stalls among other stalls – to see the entire market I would recommend at least 2 hours. Take note that the swap meet only operates Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday.
Back on the trolley the next stop is Pearl Harbor.
The attraction itself is a little walk from the trolley stop but only takes a few minutes.
When entering Pearl Harbor you can feel the importance of the site hit you. We opted to tour across to the Arizona Memorial & to take the audio guide tour.
My 6 year old had her own audio tour. As we walked through the audio tour museum she listened intently to the stories about the people lost, the survivors, the Japanese and the locals.
When we finished the audio tour she told us how boring it was but then started to ask us lots of questions about the survivors, the sailors who died and the USS Arizona.
The tour across to the USS Arizona Memorial starts with a short movie about the attack on December 7 1941. Miss 6 sat and watched the entire film – not a peep until it finished then after the guide asked us all to be respectful & orderly the hushed questions began.
It is short ferry ride across to the memorial. Once there you enter into this amazing majestic area of respect. The mood is quiet and somber.
The wreck is just below the surface. A combination of the quiet memorial, the light coming through the structure and the soft lapping of the waves on the wreck is true testament and respect to the lives lost.
The respect and gratitude to the lives lost is immense.
The tour to the memorial is limited to 15 minutes. It’s enough.
Back on dry land Miss 6 was quiet (this is a very rare occurrence). It was not until after we left the Pearl Harbor site and we were back on the trolley that she began to ask more questions.
Even though if you were to ask her today, she will tell you that it was ‘sooo boring’ however the questions still keep coming, even 6 weeks post visit, she is recounting stories of the visit to friends and family. It was well worth the visit for her.
So… take your kids. Explain to them the loss experienced and we now have our freedom today thanks to the sacrifices made long before us. That we should never forget and that we should always be thankful. That remembering them is the most important lesson.