By KATHY SOLE Special Correspondent
PEARL HARBOR — As a first-time visitor, I didn’t know what to expect as our tour bus passed through the security gate on Ford Island, where Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is located.
My husband and I had flown from SeaTac to Honolulu the day before, and early the next morning we were heading to Battleship Row in Pearl. As the bus slowly traveled past manicured lawns and trees laden with lush foliage, I thought perhaps the USS Arizona Memorial would come into view, or maybe the battleship USS Missouri would be the first ship I saw in the harbor.
Suddenly, as we rounded a curve, there was a break in the trees, and a massive ship with the familiar number 74 was no more than a football field away from us—Bremerton’s own USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
We learned the Stennis had arrived earlier that morning to participate in the week-long ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. I had seen the beautiful carrier at a distance many times over the past few years as she traveled into and out of Puget Sound, but I found myself face to face with her 3,000 miles away from home. There she was — front and center for the commemoration events.
What a wonderful surprise!
— Kitsap Military Times Special Correspondent Kathy Sole is in Hawaii and throughout the week of Dec. 4-10 will be filing reports live from the 75th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Commemoration. Cole is the president of the Kingston Historical Society.