For many of us who watch “Hawaii Five-0,” December 7, 1941 — “a date which will live in infamy” — is a day we mostly heard about from stories told by our grandparents and teachers, or from the films and television shows we watched growing up.
If you live in Hawaii, it is hard to escape the reminders of the events of that day. Many of us drive past the Arizona Memorial, Ford Island (where the USS Missouri is berthed) and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on a daily basis, and there is nary a family member or friend who doesn’t have touring Pearl Harbor on their list of things to do when visiting Hawaii. The fact that one of the most iconic World War II memorials sits in our waters and the ship that helped bring the end to the war in the Pacific looks over the last remnants of the attack on Pearl Harbor really hits home every time you see the white arch and 16-inch guns of the Mighty Mo.
One of the many elements about “Hawaii Five-0” I admire is how they honor and respect the armed forces. It looks like next week’s episode, “Ho’onani makua kāne” (“Honor Thy Father”), will not disappoint. Executive producer Peter Lenkov said on the KPRP 650 AM’s “The Amy and Friends Show” that fans should be ready to “experience a wide range of emotions” when the episode airs on CBS. It will focus on the attempted murder of a Pearl Harbor veteran and centers on the events of December 7th as well as Japanese citizens who were interned at Honouliuli on Oahu.
If past storylines are any indication, next week’s episode should be another fan favorite. One of the most popular episodes from season three was “ʻŌlelo Paʻa” (“The Promise”), which saw Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) returning to North Korea to find the remains of his best SEAL buddy, Freddie Hart.
Not only does “Hawaii Five-0” depict the positive impacts made by our military men and women, the show also highlights the unique nature of fighting for our country by showing several of their series regulars in active service as part of their ongoing character arcs.
We have the SEALs represented most notably by Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Joe White (Terry O’Quinn) and Wade Gutches (David Keith); Navy intelligence is represented by Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) and Billy Harrington (Justin Bruening), who was also a SEAL. And while the US Navy is strongly represented by these characters, the show has also utilized Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force personnel as extras in many episodes since the start of the series.
When I interviewed director Jeff Hunt last season, he mentioned how he was so “humbled” by our troops and “grateful for their service.” So when he was given the opportunity to direct a scene which depicted a military-style training operation (a helicopter drop off, search of an enemy stronghold and major gun battle), he shared his excitement about being able to accurately portray what they do every day.
I don’t think Hunt is alone in making comments about being humbled and wanting to honor our service men and women when given the chance. Star-Advertiser reporter Mike Gordon’s recent story about reenactment scenes at the Honouliuli Internment Camp includes quotes from director Larry Teng on how much of a “responsibility” it was and how they “went to really great lengths to pay attention to details.”
And that is one thing “Hawaii Five-0” is good at doing — paying attention to details and getting their information right, or as right as it can be for 44 minutes on network television. If nothing else, their obvious respect and admiration for the military and the battles they face today and in the past makes the show a pleasure to watch. I’m sure many current and former military members appreciate their efforts.
When I think of Pearl Harbor, I think of not just the attack, but a place where many significant events of my life occurred: My son’s first Cub Scout outing on the admiral’s barge when we got to see the remains of the USS Utah and where my husband retired from the US Navy after 26 years of active service. I am fully aware it is where history happened not only for America, but for a small island in the middle of the Pacific.
The attack on Pearl Harbor changed everything for Hawaii. And even though the tragic events of 1941 happened 72 years ago, our veterans and survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor work very hard to remind each generation to never forget what happened, but to also find peace within our world.
If a weekly network television show can help spread that message, then more power to them. “Remember Pearl Harbor” may have been a 1940’s military recruitment slogan, but next week it will be an amazing theme to really help illustrate a lesson of forgiveness and hope.
Redux Side Note
“Hawaii Five-0” fans and visitors to the USS Missouri will be able to preview next week’s episode with paid admission to the memorial today, Dec. 7, through Friday, Dec. 13. “Ho‘onani Makuakane” will be screened in its entirety on a continuous basis from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 13) and projected onto a large video screen inside the memorial’s educational classroom.