In the article Mr. Burns quoted a fellow foreign correspondent who once said, "Never forget, it's not how far you've traveled, it's what you've brought back".
As I've just returned from traveling over 9,000 miles round-trip (See posts from
3/30/2015 - 4/10/2015), that quote resonated with me and got me to pondering what I had in fact brought back with me from Hawaii besides a few aloha shirts and some boxes of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.
In truth I did find Hawaii, or what I saw of it, to be a thought-provoking place: it's history, its natural beauty, the culture and language of the native Hawaiians who are, in fact, my fellow Americans; the fact that our President came from this place.
But of all my impressions of Hawaii, I did have what felt like an epiphany of sorts in Honolulu while touring Pearl Harbor. (See post from 4/3/2015).
Pearl Harbor, the America naval base that was once home to our Pacific war fleet, is now our national memorial to those who were killed during its bombing by Japan on December 7, 1941, the event that launched America into its inevitable entry into World War II.
But now, though a visit to Pearl Harbor immerses one in the terrible events not only of that morning in December but of the war that ensued, the overall feel of Pearl Harbor is that this is, in fact, a nice place to spend the day:
And so this is what I brought back from my visit to Pearl Harbor:
That Pearl Harbor, as it is now, is as it should be, Americans harboring in this beautiful bay not a war fleet but a welcoming center open to the whole world; Japanese coming to Pearl Harbor not to destroy it but to enjoy it.
As I walked among the other tourists visiting Pearl harbor I kept thinking of the verse from Isaiah, 2:4:
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
They'll just use other things.