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  • Pearl HarborPearl Harbor Honolulu, Hawaii
    Pearl Harbor is found on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and is considered one of the most historically significant places in our country related to the second World War. Here, in the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft attacked the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet, which became the straw that broke the camel's back and we entered into the World War that had been drawing us ever closer to it. It became the war cry for those serving in the Pacific for the remainder of the war against Japan. Today, Pearl Harbor hosts over 1.5 million visitors each year, many coming here to visit those sad memorials of the ships and men that were sent to the bottom of the harbor. Some come here to enjoy the beauty of the island and harbor, that was the reason for the name of Pearl. An American cannot go there without solemn memories of that terrible infamous day that is still remembered even today and every year as December rolls around. When you do go there, for whatever reasons, remember that there is a new policy that went into effect after 9/11, that requires you to carry only a camera, no bags allowed that could possibly conceal any type of weapon or destructive materials. It is a sad state of affairs, but one that now haunts us at every turn, wherever we go in this country, in this world. But, there is another Pearl Harbor, where once, the harbor held a treasure of pearl-producing oysters up until the late 1800s, and the beautiful waters of blue and aqua were too shallow to allow the huge ships that came here in the 1940s to gather supplies and make any necessary transfers. The area was originally a large shallow embayment that was called Wai Momi, which meant pearl water, or Pu'uloa, meaning long hill, by the local natives. They thought it was the home of the shark goddess, Ka'ahupahau and her brother, Kahi'uka of their old legends.  Over the centuries, the United States gained more and more influence on the Hawaiian Islands and many saw the annexation writing on the wall. Towards the end of the 19th century, the United States was granted a long term lease for the usage of Pearl Harbor as a naval base, and the Spanish-American War in 1898 helped that decision in this country; since the Americans wanted to have a significant presence in the Pacific to protect their merchant ships and whaling ships. By 1900, Naval Station, Hawaii was firmly established, and this allowed the Navy to begin surveying the islands of Guam and Midway. It was during the period from 1900 to 1908 that the harbor was dredged and the channel made bigger to accommodate larger naval ships, and the naval reservation was built with many houses, machine shops and the like. In 1903, the first battleship to enter the harbor was the Wisconsin, which came in for coal, water and supplies. Following these developments, the naval station was soon under the attention of the Army department, in hopes of building army facilities there, which did not sit well with the navy since they had done a lot of work and could see that the army might eventually try to take control; but it was useless since other departments became involved in the growth of the naval station and the surrounding lands. In 1908, the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard opened, but in 1913, just before its completion, the drydocks caved and that plan was soon scrapped. As the years passed and the American influence continued to grow in the area, the Japanese went to war with China, and it soon became of some concern to this country which had a mock attack on Pearl Harbor in 1933; and the attack was a complete success, with the defense considered a failure. Why the naval station wasn't improved to protect it from attack is not known, but less than 8 years later, the Empire of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and caused incredible and unbelievable devastation with a huge loss of life. American had decoded messages enough by the Japanese to know that an attack was going to happen, they just didn't know where until it happened. We all know the rest, and we will remember. The base was made a National Historic Landmark, January 29, 1964 and there are numerous other landmarks that are related to the attack; that includes, the Arizona, Bowfin and Utah. 

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  • Mission Houses MuseumMission Houses Museum Honolulu, Hawaii
    The Mission Houses Museum was started in 1920 by the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society, on the centennial of the first missionaries coming to the islands. In 1962, the houses, along with the Kawaiaha'o Church, also constructed by the early missionaries, became a National Historic Landmark and in 1966 added to the National Register of Historic Places. The museum exists to gather, save, interpret and display the many documents, records and other artifacts of the state's missionary period that went on between 1820 and 1863. It contains over 3000 Hawaiian, Pacific and western relics, as well as over 12,000 diaries, journals, manuscripts, books, illustrations and church records. These marvelous old houses showcase the evolution of mission house architecture that show the adaption of the missionaries coming from New England, in regards to their culture, climate and building materials as they arrived in the Sandwich Islands. The materials used by the construction of the first house arrived by ship, already cut and measured, ready to put together to withstand the harsh climates of New England. The ship bringing the supplies and materials rounded Cape Horn in 1821. The windows were small to allow the heat to stay inside and short eaves so that the heavy snows wouldn't become a problem. Originally occupied by the Daniel Chamberlain family, it would sometimes hold as many as five other families, as well as sick sailors or orphans. The tiny parlor became the schoolhouse and the basement became the dining hall; with cookhouse being in another building. The next house, the Chamberlain, was constructed in 1831, using materials that were handy, like the coral blocks that were cut from nearby reefs and lumber that was obtained from ships. This house was designed by the mission's quartermaster, Levi Chamberlain, and he made it big enough for supplies and families, thus it was two stories, as well as an attic and cellar. The windows were now bigger, and more of them, with shutters to protect it from the hot sun. Today it has become the main exhibition building for the museum. In 1841, a covered porch and balcony were added to the frame house, and an extra bedroom constructed next to it using the coral blocks; which later became the print house. The addition and the previous house show how the missionaries were adapting to the different climate and conditions, especially the humidity that permeated everything inside. The print house is today a museum display that describes how the missionaries and the islanders came to work together to print the first Hawaiian language materials.

January 11, 2011