This week WordPress asks: What images does “relic” conjure for you? A well-worn piece of blue beach glass, the faded pencil markings from a high-school journal, or the curmudgeonly character from the CBC television series, The Beachcombers?
Share a photo of what “relic” means to you — it could be your still-running 1979 Honda Accord Hatchback, a historic building in your town, or an old, rusted farm implement poking up through the long grass in a field. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/relic/
When I saw this photo challenge, I thought immediately about my visit to Pearl Harbour several years ago where I saw the relics left over from the attack there. Of course, I knew all about Pearl Harbour from studying history at school. I also knew that when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour it caused the US to enter World War II.
However, before going to Pearl Harbour, it seemed to me that what took place here was something that happened to ‘others’ and it was a long way from my home in Australia. I was more aware that the Japanese attacked one of our smaller cities – Darwin – up in the Northern Territory almost demolishing the town, but this did not bring Pearl Harbour closer to home for me because of its similarities.
Darwin was just a small town of 5,800 people when it was attacked in 1942; Australia was using it as a base for the armed forces due to its position close to Asia. During the attack 235 people were killed … although this number has been disputed. Many warships were sunk as well as local ferries, luggers and other ships.
My father had gone to Darwin to rebuilt the city after the bombing. I was not born at this time but by the time he returned home in 1944, my mother became pregnant with me and I was born in 1946. Therefore, my father talked often about the flattened town of Darwin and of his fondness for the American servicemen he had met there who had come to our aid.
The year prior to the bombing of Darwin, on the 7th December 1941, Pearl Harbour was attacked. It was a Sunday morning and most people were getting ready for church when the Japanese struck.
Unexpected. No warning … after all it was a lazy Sunday of leisure. Just the whirring of planes in the distance and then the bombs began dropping. Shock. Total
Unlike Australia who were already at war when the Japanese attacked Darwin, Pearl Harbour was an attack on a country who had NOT declared war on the Japanese! However, it didn’t take long after the attack for America to enter the war.
Now that I have stood at the Memorial in Honolulu, where the USS Arizona was bombed taking with her all on board, I understand what happened here in a deeper way. The memorial which has been placed over the Arizona’s wreckage keeps alive the memory of all that happened that day in December 1941. I read:
Arizona – The Arizona was struck a number of times by bombs. One of these bombs, thought to have hit the forward magazine, caused a massive explosion, which quickly sank the ship. Approximately 1,100 of her crew were killed.
It is an emotional site dear friends and you cannot help but be touched emotionally when you visit the RELICS that remain of the SS Arizona. I found that the people visiting were silent as they toured the memorial. Yes, they were asked to stay quiet, but really it wasn’t necessary to ask because most people were deep in thought during the visit. Some were weeping.
The photos I have placed here today were the ones I took on that spring day at Pearl Harbour in 2009 when I stood and paid homage to the crew who died on the USS Arizona. I understand far better now what Pearl Harbour was all about.
Yes I get it now. For here lies the RELICS of an attack in 1941 that not only shocked America but the whole world. R.I.P. to the crew of the USS Arizona.