Today is the 60th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. That brings back a lot of memories for me, even though I wasn't born at the time of the attack.
A year ago in March, my husband, Rev. W.T. Fitzgerel, and I went to the Punchbowl Cemetery with a minister friend and his wife. My husband could have led a private memorial service for me, but I asked our friend to do it instead, as I wanted my husband to be free to comfort me as we had our own memorial for my dad, Bert Truett. I had been unable to attend his funeral, so I needed my own closure.
SFC Bert Truett died December 4, 1975, as a result of his injuries in the Korean conflict. He had also served in Viet Nam, before receiving a medical retirement. The Purple Heart and Oakleaf Cluster he received were an honor, but they didn't do much for his pain as the shrapnel disintegrated in his foot, or my pain as I knelt there to say "Goodbye" to my Daddy.
After honoring his grave with prayer and flowers, we went to Pearl Harbor.
It is such a beautiful place, it is hard to imagine the devastation that occurred in this place, except for the fact that visitors see newsclips of the actual attack before going out to the Arizona Memorial by boat. There is also a reminder that this is the final resting place for the men whose bodies couldn't be recovered.
This is sobering, indeed.
Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit, but it is a better place to go to realize that our freedom didn't come "free."
There has been a tremendous price paid to keep us free.
I was almost 50 years old when I lost my grandparents. My children never got to meet their Grandpa. My Dad died in Hawaii before they were 5 years old.
We also visited the Battleship Missouri. It is awesome to see both the place where WWII started, and where it ended so close together. It is also very humbling.
If you have found yourself taking our great country for granted, go to both these memorials and see for yourself. You will be forever changed.
LeeAnna Truett Fitzgerel
New Madrid - Salt Lake City, Utah