DAY 1: John Marra's Hawaiian Holiday

Day 1, Saturday March 21

Aloha from the big island of Hawaii!

It was a long flight but anticipation over ruled what discomfort our group might have experienced. Certainly, the time change over 6 hours will be our biggest adjustment.

We started off our Hawaiian tour with a solemn visit to the place where WWII was initiated, Pearl Harbor. Thousands died on that day, December 7th, 1941.

Our group started their tour of Pearl Harbor by visiting the site of the greatest loss of life in a single day by any ship in America, the USS Arizona. Actually, the Japanese woke up a sleeping giant that lead go one of our greatest victories as a nation.

R. G. "Bob" Kinzler was there. That Sunday Kinzler, with the US Navy stationed at the Schofield Barracks, watched from a hillside a mile away helplessly as Japanese plane after Japanese plane dropped their munitions into our Navy warships. It was an odd quiet feeling to listen to Bob -- one of the few military personnel left -- who watched the whole battle play.

"I could only watch. Only had my .45 service hand gun, but I couldn't get it to fire," Kinzler told our group. "It was quiet on the Arizona Memorial, surprisingly quiet."

Visitors, including some of our own tour group, threw flowers on the water as a memorial and a reminder that we haven't forgotten their sacrifices.

The rest of the day was spent on a bus tour of the island -- there are some breathtaking views in Hawaii.

Tomorrow is a day to relax. Many will take in sights of the island. I'll probably find a soft spot on the sand of Waikiki Beach.

Keep your green thumb growing!
-John Marra

PS: don't forget to check out my slide show of pictures!

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