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One of our must see sites when we visited Hawaii was Pearl Harbor and its National Historic Sites. We happened to be at Pearl Harbor on Veteran’s Day, November 11. Since my Dad was a Navy Seabee, this made our visit all the more meaningful for me.

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Within the memorial area is a statue of a Navy sailor. He reminded me of all the pictures I have seen of my Dad dressed in his “Navy Blues”, which he was so proud to wear on the day he married my Mom.

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Near the statue is a plaque which brought a tear to my eye as it reminded me of all the stories Dad used to tell about his service in World War II. It truly does remind me of the “sailor” I called Dad.

The Lone Sailor represents the men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve in the Navy. He’s called the Lone sailor, yet he is hardly ever alone. He is about 25 years old, a senior second class petty officer who is fast becoming a seagoing veteran. He has done it all–fired weapons in war, provided humanitarian assistance in far-away lands, been attacked by the enemy and defended our freedom. He has made liberty calls in great cities and tiny villages where he was a tourist, ambassador, adventurer, friend, missionary to those less fortunate, and representative of our way of life. His shipmates remember him with pride and look up to him with respect.

Pearl Harbor is a well protected lagoon harbor on the southern side of the island of Oahu.

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On December 7, 1941 its name and the significance of what happened there became forever recognizable to all Americans. On that day the Japanese Navy Air Service carried out a surprise attack on the United States Naval Station at Pearl Harbor. At the time, President Roosevelt called it, “the date that will live in infamy”, and the United States joined its allies in the Second World War.

The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is that place where Americans honor the men and women who were killed on that horrific day. 2,335 servicemen were killed, 1,177 of them from the USS Arizona. 1,143 people were wounded, and 68 civilians were killed.

The USS Arizona Memorial was constructed over the ruins of the ship, which lies 40 feet below the water’s surface. Of the 1,177 servicemen who died on the Arizona, 900 were never recovered and are buried forever with the ship.

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A tour boat takes visitors out to the memorial where the ruined hulk of the ship can be seen below the surface. No one is allowed on the memorial at this time due to structural problems still being addressed.

As your tour boat moves through the lagoon, you notice concrete memorials to other ships that were lost on that day…

There is a hangar on the grounds that houses an airplane exhibit. For me, the most impressive thing I saw in that building was the bank of windows with blown out panes of glass that still remain missing since the day of the attack…

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While at Pearl Harbor we also visited the USS Missouri Memorial. It was on the Missouri that the Japanese signed a declaration of surrender on September 2, 1945. As a side note, this memorial truly captured my husband’s attention since that day just so happens to also be the very day on which he was born.

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A photo taken on board the USS Arizona as Japan prepared to sign the declaration of surrender documents.

Our last major stop was to tour the USS Bowfin, a submarine nicknamed the “Pearl Harbor Avenger”.  Her “silent service” in the Pacific was responsible for the destruction of thirty-four large enemy ships and ten smaller ones.Her efforts truly helped win the war in the Pacific, as well as helping to bring World War II to an end.

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Here are some of the pictures I took inside the USS Bowfin. You never know what “close quarters” feel like until you walk around inside those quarters. Nor do I believe walking around the sub for half an hour gave me any realistic feeling of what that space would feel like after the normal “patrol”, which lasted six months out to sea.

Pearl Harbor is a testament to the tragedy of suffering and death caused by war. But it is also an amazing testament to the valor that comes from fighting those battles that can help make the world right again. It is a place forever seared into our American story, and the importance of this nation on the world stage. No one can come away from this place without a determination to look to leaders who believe in peace, who stress the dignity of all people in all nations, and who insist on promoting the idea of a world that seeks a tomorrow without war.

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Oahu Fried Rice

Oahu is one of the islands that make up the state of Hawaii. As we toured the island we learned many things about the special advantages of living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We also learned of some of the challenges.

Everything that Hawaii cannot produce for itself must be shipped or flown in from a very far distance. For that reason the state has a set schedule of resupply. In this way the government can assure its citizens of about a three week supply of necessary items for survival in the event a catastrophe were to occur that would make it difficult for the outside world to reach the island population. One of the items they always have in stock is Spam, and Hawaiians love Spam. There is even a Spam menu item at McDonald’s!

I was raised in a lower middle class family with my sister and two brothers, and we ate a lot of Spam. Mom fried it for supper, packed it in our lunches, and cut it into small bits to add to our scrambled eggs in the morning. The idea that anyone would love Spam was a great shock to me! But I have to say, the people in Hawaii do some exciting things with this lowly meat, and Spam is a commodity that can be held in storage for a very long time.

When we returned home, I toyed around with several different recipes to prepare a proper Spam dish reminiscent of the foods I had on the island. I found several recipes, and put a couple of them together to make one we enjoyed. I must say that while the Sriracha is optional, it really adds to the dish, helping take away some of the very salty flavor of the Spam.

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Oahu Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 can Spam, cut into bite-size pieces (you may prefer to use a bit less than a whole can)
  • 3/4 c. diced fresh carrots
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 c. cooked rice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Sriracha (optional)
  • extra green onion for garnish


  1. Scramble the eggs in the butter and set aside
  2. Brown the Spam in the vegetable oil.
  3. Add the onions and the carrots and continue browning for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the peas, and cook another 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the rice, then the soy sauce, fish sauce, and the pepper
  6. Stir in the scrambled eggs
  7. Serve in bowls with a garnish of green onions and sriracha.