I was in Honolulu three months shy of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The oil still seeps to the surface of the underwater grave.
And that's what the USS Arizona Memorial is -- a cemetery. It isn't a tourist trap, but that didn't stop the uncouth from treating it as such.
I had been told tales of Japanese tourists taking pictures and grinning from ear to ear like a fisherman holding the biggest bass you've ever seen. Well, it isn't exactly true, at least it wasn't the day I was there.
Several posed for photos, some -- incredulously -- with smiles on their faces, but it was people of all nationalities and races, mostly Americans, I'm ashamed to say.
I wouldn't even wear a hat.
Several survivors were sitting near the visitor's center. We missed the boat on meeting them. By the time we finished the tour, they had gone their merry way. It's too bad. I wanted to say thanks.
And so I do today, to those who fought, to those who remember, to the Greatest Generation, that tough-as-nails special breed of human beings who stared both a Depression and a second World War in the face, beat them both and lived to tell the tale. We'll never see their likes again.
Until then, here's hoping to heaven we always remember, that their service and sacrifice will seep as strong into our souls as does the oil to the water's surface from the underwater graveyard at Pearl Harbor.