USS Arizona Memorial

I had an occasion to visit a ship located at the bottom of Pearl Harbor whose crew is still listed on active duty: USS Arizona. To this day a flag is raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset, as a reminder of what happened so many years ago; the crew is still guarding over the harbor. What struck me most about this tour were the words the guide shared with us. He spoke about how we all have differences, physical, cultural, religious etc. but that we all feel pain, we all grieve and morn the dead and its those similarities that we should focus on. He then said, ‘We have a word in Hawaiian, aloha, which we say a lot but not many people know it translates as ‘breathe of life.’ So I ask you all, many of you are strangers, to turn to your neighbors and tell them aloha, shake their hand, make that connection, share your breathe of life.’

Of course I was a snot nosed teenager, jaded, and convinced that I knew it all. I turn and my family is on my right and, of course, an elderly Japanese couple was on my left. I froze but figured I needed to do something when I noticed that the woman was crying, in fact lots of people were crying, hugging, shaking hands. I offered my hand and she gave me a hug, the man shook my hand. It’s a memory that stands out about the power of people…every one of us has the power to create, to love, to build and we also can destroy, hate and divide. The question is which option do you choose? Everything in life is a choice, I feel that there’s already plenty of hate in the world, I mustn’t add to it, but love ah now that’s the ticket, that’s the stuff dreams are made of…

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