Today, we went to Pearl Harbor. This is the site that the Japanese bombed in 1941, and the day the US entered World War II.

When we arrived, we first went to the USS Missouri. This ship was built after Pearl Harbor was bombed, but before the end of World War II. It was used until 1999. This was also the ship where the Japanese signed their surrender. It was not only the Americans who signed the document, but also the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces and the rest of the countries Japan were fighting against, including the Soviet Union, New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands, Canada, the United Kindom, France, and China. The person who signed for Allied forces, MacArthur, invited two other people to sign with him. These were two prisoners of war, who were let out shortly before the surrender. The average lifetime of of a prisoner of war is 3-6 months, but they both survived more than three years. They were both more than 6 feet and weighed less than 100 pounds. I found this very caring of MacArthur.

In the ship, there were a lot of different rooms. My favorite room was the donut shop. The sailors needed morale, so one of the things they did was to have a donut machine. I found this both funny and fascinating. One of the general’s room also had a pen, papers, a computer, a keyboard, and more office equipment. But the one thing that seemed out of place was a donut. Another thing they used for morale was a basketball court. They had a small, outdoor basketball hoop, which I am guessing was also used for morale. I wonder what happens if the basketball goes overboard?!!!

The sailors also needed healthcare. So there was both, a dentist and a doctor. The dentist even had an X-ray!

I also found the cockpit very interesting. So that the boat could contine even if it was damaged, the walls of the cockpit were several feet thick. The pilot could not see outside, so I wondered how he would drive? It turns out that they would send radio signals so the pilot would know what to do. I was also impressed by the cannons.

When we left the ship, we watched a short video about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and boarded a small boat. We drove around the harbor and got to see the different memorials to different ships. Pearl Harbor is extremely shallow so some of tops of the sunken ship sit out of the water. The most famous is the USS Arizona, which the most people died when it sank. It is also the only sunken ship you can visit, although sadly, the loading dock was being fixed so we couldn’t board the memorial.

 

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