about the Pearl Harbor memorial.

The tour of the USS Arizona Memorial begins with a brief, but moving film relating the events leading up and following December 7, 1941. We were then ushered back outside and onto the ferry that would take us out to the memorial standing in the middle of the harbor.

The USS Arizona Memorial is a solemn, white structure, built over the untouched remains of the USS Arizona battleship. Huge open windows let sunlight filter onto the deck of the memorial, blue skies a stark contrast to the pure white walls. There are 21 windows in all, representing an eternal 21 gun salute over the fallen ship. To the left and right are the ship's turrets, painfully jutting out of the ocean. It is eerie and unnatural in appearance, a jarring break in the cool beauty of the water. Oil still seeps from the wreckage, "black tears" mourning a lost crew. And, under the murmuring waves, 1,102 fallen men lie, forever entombed in the bright turquoise waters. A small shrine at the end of the deck has just one window and is lined with the names of each soul whose life was cut short on December 7, 1941.

It was almost a relief to step back onto the ferry that would take us back to the docks. And the ride back was a little quieter than before, as each person pondered Pearl Harbor, thinking about their part of the story.

My grandfather was stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was on the USS Nevada and was wounded during the attack. His part at Pearl Harbor altered the course of his whole life and, subsequently, mine. How curious that one event can hold the power to effect generations.

My grandpa died when I was just 11, an age where I couldn't truly begin to comprehend how noble of a man he was. I just knew him as my sweet, gentle Grandpa. Being at the Pearl Harbor Memorial brought back the ache of missing him, and the realization of all the reasons I have to be proud of the great man he was. How I wish that he was still alive today, so that I could honor him and thank him for his part at Pearl Harbor. As I stood on the deck of the USS Arizona Memorial, I paid tribute to the tragic death of thousands, and honored the very special life of one, my grandpa, Sydney Jameson.


  1. After seeing that memorial changed my perspective on The words "Pearl Harbor". Seeing where the attack took place and thinking of your grandpa really made it so personal. I love you baby.

  2. Melissa O'BrienDecember 8, 2009 at 4:04 PM

    Wow Becki, very well put as usual. I never knew about your grandpa! We all are thankful for his sacrifice for our country. I wish i could thank him for his wonderful granddaughter i am blessed to have in my life! I love you! :)

  3. That was beautifully written and so sweet. I miss Grandpa too. I wish that he could have met Timmy and seen his pen pal as a married women. You have inherited his artistic talent and his gentle spirit. He would be so proud of you!