I do not think I’ve ever taken 247 pictures in a single day. Until today.

I have enough videotape, audio recordings, and digital photos to probably work two to three days straight and still not fully document what we experienced today at Pearl Harbor and in Honolulu. Instead of working on that documentary process this evening, after a long day, I am settling for posting these images as a new photo set on Flickr (adding to the collection I’ve started for this entire Oklahoma Digital Learning Project – 2007 Hawaii adventure) and writing this blog post.

Our day started early with the high school students in Navy Junior ROTC at Claremore High School, Oklahoma, who had spent the night on the USS Missouri. As you may know, the USS Missouri is the ship on which the Japanese surrendered in September 1945 to the United States in Tokyo harbor. The USS Missouri now sits moored in Pearl Harbor, right next to the spot occupied by the USS Oklahoma during the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941, which brought the United States into “The War.” I thought our experiences the previous day touring Ford Island, touching a remnant of the USS Oklahoma’s mast, seeing the USS Utah Memorial, along with other things would be the highlight of our trip. I was wrong.

Students from Claremore High School, Oklahoma, on board the USS Missouri

Standing on the deck of the USS Missouri this morning, hearing the docent re-enact the speech of General Douglas MacArthur and others at the surrender of the Empire of Japan in September 1945… (which I recorded in its entirety and will share later as an audio podcast, of course)… was quite overwhelming. We could see the memorial for the USS Arizona, which represents the starting of World War II, and were standing on the deck of the ship where World War II ended in the Pacific theater. It was a powerful and emotional event, and one which I will never forget as long as I live.

After that experience, we spent three hours in the late morning and early afternoon at the amazing Punahou school in downtown Honolulu, which has been on a one to one learning adventure for the past eight years with students in grades four through eight. The opportunity to spend time with teachers and administrative leaders of Punahou was thanks to Chris Watson and a connection we made several weeks ago via Twitter. The connections possible now in our wired world are amazing. Much more to come on that visit and the instructive story of Punahou’s educator leaders on the topics of instructional transformation and one to one learning.

The day concluded with a three hour adventure touring Pearl Harbor by boat with about 75 other people, including seven military survivors of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Three of those men were aboard the USS Oklahoma at the time of its attack, and are pictured here with the current commander of US Naval Station Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona Memorial.

3 survivors of the USS Oklahoma and the current commander of Naval Station Pearl Harbor

I took many photos I think will be worth sharing and remembering, but this one is certainly one of the best. This is a reflection of a Navy sailor saluting the memorial to the USS Oklahoma, on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor:

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Powerful. Amazing. Emotional. Priceless. Words are inadequate to convey what these moments meant, and how precious it was to be included in the small group of people who spent several hours together on the blue waters of Pearl Harbor this evening, remembering the events of December 7, 1941, as well as the many sacrifices which followed that dark day in United States history.

I will share more in the days and weeks ahead but for now, I’ll stop with those words and these 247 images posted to Flickr.

At several times during the past three days, I have experienced a surge of pride in my heart and in my soul for our nation, the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and those who continue to serve her today. It is an amazing and remarkable privilege to be here in Hawaii and at Pearl Harbor to both experience and share the events taking place here this week.

If you can, please plan to join us tomorrow for our live videoconference and webcast at 2 pm US Central time, from Ford Island in Honolulu, Hawaii. The link to the webcast will be available on the Educator’s portal of the Oklahoma World War II Stories project website. (This is the direct link, which will be active during this 1.5 hour videoconference and webcast.)

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On this day..

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  • Stevie Kline

    Wes,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in Hawaii with the rest of us. My father-in-law served on the “Mighty Mo” and he always spoke of what a privilege it was. Someday my husband and I hope to visit her. I know you and your students are taking part in life changing events. I feel honored to be able in a small way to come along. Stevie

  • Barbara Dieter

    Wes-seeing the USS MO brought back memories. We went aboard her when Chuck was 13 and it was docked at Brainbridge (think that’s it) WA in Puget Sound. It was later commisioned, I believe, and used in the middle east. I remember Chuck’s age because as we headed west from Seattle on the ferry Chuck announced, “This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.” For a land locked CO boy it probably was. I think it shows the importance of creating memories for your children to dwell upon in later years.

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