2,400 souls died on this day, 74 years ago.
Two years after 9-11 we were in Honolulu. Out of the blue, we decided to visit Pearl Harbor Memorial, finding ourselves lost from taking the wrong turn, ending up at the Pearl Harbor military base. Coming onto the base, we quickly realized our mistake as the entrance was well protected by armed officers and the ever noticeable grated yellow grid tracks, designed to slow you down in a hurry.
Our helplessness look was way too obvious, as my jaw must of hit the ground. The young officer came to our immediate attention. He looked at my attire, the typical “Aloha” Hawaiian shirt. Trying not to smile, he said,” Where in the hell do you think you’re going?”
I said,” I’m sorry sir, I must of taken the wrong turn. This isn’t Pearl Harbor Memorial, is it?”
He placed his hands on his hips and said,” No it isn’t. Turn around and head further down the road, it’s the next turn to your right.”
I quickly nodded and zoomed out of there, like a deer been chased by a grizzly. Out of the rear-view mirror, I could see the officers still watching. I’m thinking they weren’t in the mood for a lost tourist, and I couldn’t really blame them, since what happened just a couple years earlier.
Finally, we found Pearl Harbor Memorial.
At the time my interest was to learn more about the history behind this tragedy, never did I realize how much the memorial would effect me. It was hard to keep back the tears, after hearing first hand accounts from the men and women, who survived this horrific event in history.
One of the women, a nurse back then ( 89 years old) signed my table top book representing Pearl Harbor. She brought it home to me how this tragedy should never be repeated, but unfortunately it had happened with 9-11, where 2,977 innocent lives were lost.
It was a sober reminder.
And today, we are still in conflict with war. The recent horrific bloodshed of 14 innocent lives, along with 130 souls lost in the Paris, is a constant reminder. The attacks on humanity and the freedom we hold so close and dear, must be protected at all costs.
I salute all the men and women who have served and deeply respect their sacrifice.
Remember the woman who signed my book ? She placed her frail hand softly onto mine and said, ” Your freedom is always at a price…remember that.”
When I got home, my emotions of Pearl Harbor stirred within me. It was this burning desire that I had to express myself, somehow. So, I picked up my paint brush, as any artist would do, and began to paint my abstract onto canvas. Every paint stroke expressed my anguish for those that died that day, 74 years ago.
So today, I tearfully remember Pearl Harbor and give my respect to the American men and women who served and died that day on Dec 7, 1941.
By Bari Demers