On Saturday morning we had breakfast about 7:00 a.m. in a really crowded breakfast area. Everyone was getting ready to leave the ship as soon as they could. It was kind of sad to see this great time come to an end, but it was also reality.
We disembarked about 8:30. It was so easy. It was simple compared to our first cruises in 1986 and 2000. I guess the cruise lines have learned a lot and come a long way since then.
We were met by our excursion company at the exit to the terminal and we boarded a bus for a City Tour and Pearl Harbor. It rained during most of the City Tour, but that was okay. We ended up at Pearl Harbor about 10:30 and remained there until about 3:00. Did we need that much time at Pearl Harbor? No, but that was the way to get a guaranteed ticket to the USS Arizona. The boat ride to the Arizona and viewing it only lasted about 45 minutes, but it was a special place to be. Oil still leaks to the surface every few minutes. It is really an underwater cemetery...a place where over a thousand men gave their lives for their country.
There is also a baby girl buried with all of those sailors. You say, "How?" A sailor and his wife had twin girls. One of them died at birth. The sailor was being transferred to Pearl Harbor. He made arrangements with a chaplain to lay her to rest in the Pacific on the morning of December 7, 1941. The sailor and chaplain boarded the Arizona with the cremated remains of his daughter, but never had the time to do what they intended to do. Months later divers attempted to remove the urn, but it was too dangerous to retrieve it and the urn remains there to this day with her daddy and the chaplain.
We headed to the airport about 3:30. Our flight was scheduled for 9:15 P.M., so we knew we had a long wait. When we checked in, we found that the flight was delayed and was not scheduled to depart until 10:55. We think it finally got away around midnight, but we were offered an earlier flight around 7:20. That was magnificent.
We arrived in Houston the next morning. It had been a long ride. We were lucky to get a couple hours of sleep, maybe in smaller increments. The journey was over, but it was wonderful for our family. We will not soon forget this special time together.