April 27, 2017
At the urging of my eldest son, I visited the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in the spring of 2001. It had been a very long time since I was last there – and under very different circumstances. Of course, I had mixed emotions. But feeling the solemnity of the site and the reverence visitors gave it, I became more at ease. And after meeting other Pearl Harbor Survivors that day who volunteered there, I decided I would join them – as my son said, it was my duty.
Some think volunteering is a sacrifice – I say it is a source of joy. Millions of visitors of all ages, from all over the world, come to honor those who served at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. They also come to learn about and to somehow experience the day in history that changed the world. They are anxious and surprised to meet Pearl Harbor Survivors who are still alive. They are more surprised when I stand to take a photo with them. I continue to make many new friends who write and often return. But my greatest joy is meeting Make-A-Wish children who have chosen this site for their special request.
There are only a few of us left, dwindling as the days go by. We greet visitors and autograph gift shop items they purchase. After my name, I always write the initials PHS. They assume it means Pearl Harbor Survivor. But I tell them it really stands for “Poor Hawaiian Sailor.”