As many of you know, I love history and traveling. At some places, they go hand-in-hand. On Thursday, I remembered that Dec. 7, was the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

As many of you know, I love history and traveling. At some places, they go hand-in-hand. On Thursday, I remembered that Dec. 7, was the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
In 1999, I went to Hawaii on vacation. Aside from the shopping and going to the beach, my parents took me to something that I had always wanted to go to and see: Pearl Harbor.
Being a history buff all of my life, I had always heard about when the surprise bombing by Japanese on Pearl Harbor. Dad would not only tell Greg and I about what he learned growing up, but also told us that Mom and he had been to Hawaii a couple of times - one of which was on the 50th anniversary of the bombing in December 1991.
On a bright sunny day, my parents took us to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. Now when you get on the memorial, you are to remain quiet to respect the countless sailers who perished on Dec. 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy. On one end of the open memorial, there are the names of those who perished. You can also see the Arizona below, but also see the oil bubbling up from the ship. Toward the end of the tour, there was a family who threw a wreath into the harbor in honor of a person who died on that day in 1941. There was not a dry eye after the wreath was put into the water.
Another place we went to was the U.S.S. Missouri, which is docked near the memorial. On Sept. 2, 1945, the formal ceremonies, marking the surrender of Japan, took place aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. Touring the ship was great, but one thing that I truly remember was when Dad and I went back to the battleship on Sept. 2, 1999. There was a ceremony with Hawaiian dignitaries and some World War II veterans including some from Pearl Harbor and some Japanese veterans. We actually got to stand on the ship near where Japan signed the surrender papers back in 1945. It was neat to see all of them.
I have not been back to Pearl since then, but it is definitely on my bucket list to go back. Now, they have a new visitors center and I am sure as I am writing this column, there will be more books, TV specials and magazines dedicated to telling about Pearl with the 75th anniversary which was yesterday.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to Hawaii, I strongly suggest that you go and head to Pearl Harbor. In the meantime, if you see a veteran who either served in World War II — for that matter any veteran - thank them for their service, thank them for the freedoms that we have as Americans.
Todd G. Higdon is the managing editor and writes a weekly column. He can be reached at thigdon@ neoshodailynews.com.