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To the Hawaiians, Pearl Harbor was called Pu‘uloa and was famous for its fishponds and for being abundant with fish and oysters. Its rich waters helped to feed and nurture our people. Today Pearl Harbor no longer feeds us, but still nurtures our minds with its rich history and stories of brotherly love and heroism. Yet when most of us drive by Pearl Harbor, mostly on our way to the airport, or to attend a weekend Swap Meet or to attend a UH football game at the Aloha Stadium, we usually bypass the turn marked Arizona Memorial Place. We’d never dream of fishing its waters now. The last time many of us have visited the USS Arizona Memorial and the other exhibits that share the memorial area—like the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and the memorials on Ford Island, like the USS Utah Memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the Battleship Missouri Memorial, were for grade school excursions or Boy Scout outings. But if, like me, you are married to someone in the service or are currently serving or working with the military, you’ve attended your fair share of Hail and Farewells or reenlistment and retirement ceremonies on one or more of these solemn historic places.
In “Ho‘apono,” BM1 Ed McKay tells McGarrett about serving with his grandfather, John McGarrett aboard the USS Arizona. After I swallowed the lump in my throat, as any mention of sailors onboard the Arizona on December 7, 1941 makes me a little misty, I thought of how ingenious the “Hawaii Five-0” writers were at incorporating the tragic story of the attack on Pearl Harbor into the story line of the show.
Makes perfect sense, as it is difficult to separate the story of that infamous day in our history from the history of Hawaii, where our hero and naval officer Steve McGarrett is from and where his namesake grandfather fought aboard the USS Arizona.
After my excursion with my Missouri expert, Neil Yamamoto, as I wrote about in last week’s blog “Behind the Scenes on the Mighty Mo” which you can read about here, I found that there was more on Ford Island that many of you don’t always get to see. To see the USS Utah you need to have military identification and to visit the USS Oklahoma Memorial you need to have a USS Missouri shuttle ticket. Both memorials are a bit stark, but that almost pinpoints how important they are in our history. They don’t need a lot of fanfare and decoration. The simpleness reminds us that we are looking at the final resting places for many of the souls that perished on that fateful day.
So before I get more misty, let’s take a little “Five-0” Tour of Ford Island and I’ll show you a little bit more of my day with Neil and a few other shooting places from “Ho’apono.”