How many “old” people have said, “I can’t believe so many years have passed”? While I continue to harbor the illusion that I’m not really old, when one realizes that one has been married for 50 years, it can be a stunning epiphany. It definitely called for a celebration, especially considering how fragile marriage has become in our society.
A friend who I’m sure wishes to remain anonymous to the world at large offered us a gift we couldn’t refuse: a free flight to wherever Jan and I wanted to go for our 50th anniversary. We chose a place we’ve always wanted to see but had never had the opportunity to visit—Hawaii.
Oahu was our destination. Waikiki Beach in Honolulu was where we spent a week at the Royal Hawaiian Resort. What a beautiful place it is. The lobby and all the corridors are open to the outside and a nice breeze invigorates as one sits in a chair taking it all in. I have to admit that one of the highlights for me was going to the Royal Bakery each morning, grabbing a coffee and a special bakery selection (a new one each day), and just sitting in a rocking chair enjoying the early morning and reading Scripture on my phone.
But I wasn’t there simply to eat pastries. Our first full day culminated in an anniversary meal on the veranda of another beautiful resort, the Moana Surfrider. Our thanks goes to a passerby who was eager to take a photo of us as we awaited our reservation time.
On our second night, we attended a luau at the Royal Hawaiian. The music and storytelling were excellent, as was the setting on the lawn overlooking the beach and ocean. As the evening turned to dusk, the sky illuminated the setting, making it even more of a memorable occasion.
The historian in me had always wanted to go to Pearl Harbor. It finally happened.
I knew that going to the Arizona Memorial would be a sober experience. Knowing that 1,177 American sailors never made it out of the ship and that they are entombed below the visitors who come to the Memorial can’t help but make it a sober experience. And I was impressed by how respectful all the visitors were. Here are a few scenes from the Memorial.
One fact I was unaware of until I was standing at the wall is that some of the survivors of the sinking of the Arizona decided to be buried on this spot when they died. That took me by surprise.
There were other noteworthy experiences that week, but I’ll stop with that. Well, not quite. Here’s one of my favorite photos of our time together in Oahu at a scenic lookout near Diamond Head.