My husband and I visited Pearl Harbor a few years ago. This past year I wrote about that visit on Memorial Day. You can use the link to read the post, but below is an excerpt:
"When you visit Pearl Harbor, you actually have to take a ferry out to where the memorial is, simply because it is placed directly over the sunken ship and is therefore in the middle of the water. As you can imagine, it was a very somber place to walk across. Many people, including my husband, were moved to tears as they read the names of those who perished on December 7, 1941 on the gigantic wall .
And yet I was not.
I found myself with an overwhelming desire to smile, and I will stand by my feelings that day for the rest of my life.
What I felt was overwhelming gratitude. I truly believe I live in one of the best countries on this planet and those names were part of creating that. They worked hard to protect our nation from people who thought they could bring us down, and I feel they deserve my respect and admiration, not my sorrow.
As I stood over the hull of a ship that I knew was the final resting place for so many, I found myself wondering what their thoughts would be about all of us who come to pay tribute. My personal belief is that they would want us to live wonderful, beautiful, happy lives in the land that they helped protect. I stood in the middle of the ship, looked out through the open windows into the murky water surrounding it, and I gave them the biggest smile I could. This wonderful country we all love so much, they gave it to us. I may be the only one who would have that reaction in the midst of so many tears, but all I can do is hope that the souls under that water smiled back."
To this day, I still stand by how I felt on that sunny afternoon. Go out today and live your best life possible. Make that your tribute to the people who lost their lives that day. Be kind to someone in their place. Love someone for them. Be the memorial.
When the day comes that all of you are standing at my memorial service, I hope you smile for me.
Smile and live gloriously.
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