Today being the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor reminds me of one of the great regrets (of many) that I had re: my Navy service. Between the two ships I served on, I visited Pearl Harbor 5 times.
Every time I went there, I had the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial. My ships were tied up right across the harbor from the memorial every instance. But like most of the snot nosed punk sailors with money in their pockets and booze and other diversions on their minds, I never gave the idea a second thought.
Now almost 30 years after I got out, I so regret not going over there and paying my respects. For Navy people, the Arizona Memorial is hallowed and sacred space. It is the desire of many sailors to reenlist at the Memorial. Every ship that pulls into Pearl renders honors to the USS Arizona and the men who rest below her decks.
I may never have another chance to right that wrong. If I were the Chief of Naval Operations, I'd make it mandatory that every sailor from E1 to O10 should go to the Arizona at least once in their tour to pay their respects and to be reminded of what it means to wear the uniform. Rest easy, gentlemen. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.