I sent out a quick image via instagram yesterday when I had a chance to meet with someone who actually fought during the attack at Pearl Harbor more than 70 years ago. At more than 70 years, there simply aren’t very many people left who were alive during that time at all, much less actually at the military base in Hawaii.
As I was leaving the Pearl Harbor visitor’s center I saw a barrier set up with a line beginning to form and a sign saying, “Meet Pearl Harbor Survivors.” And wouldn’t you know, there he was.
Herb Weatherwax is actually one of four men who lived through the attack on Pearl Harbor and are still living. During the week they stop by and greet visitors when able.
Herb is 97 years old now. And definitely doesn’t look it. Obviously I was doing the math in my head and I figured he was at least in his early 90’s. The guy’s still sharp though. As I’m traveling through Hawaii by myself I told him I’d have to take the picture by holding my hand outstretched. He said something along the lines, “well, hopefully you know what you’re doing.” haha. Oh that Herb, what a character. He then stopped me and asked to look at it to make sure it came out okay and I had a decent picture to remember the moment.
I was totally caught off guard by the experience. I’d know I wanted to visit Pearl Harbor and especially the U.S.S. Arizona while I was in Oahu, Hawaii, but I had no idea the visitor’s center brought in actual Pearl Harbor survivors to meet with guests. Not only that but apparently it’s a common thing. Nothing I’d read about the memorial or the ticketing process or directions how to get there made any mention of it.
Go Sooner than Later to Experience This
Who knows how much longer actual survivors from Pearl Harbor will be around to greet you as you walk through the visitor’s center? If you’re thinking about a visit to Pearl Harbor, I would absolutely put it as a priority so you have the chance to meet and talk with one of the four remaining individuals who come to the memorial and talk with people. It was a tremendous surprise that I had no idea about beforehand.