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Disaster Kid and Pearl Harbor Day

December 9, 2009

I’ve taken to calling C “Disaster Kid.”  He is fascinated by disasters.  First it was the sinking of the Titanic.  He read every book he could find about it.  Then last year during our astronomy unit, he became fascinated by the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. He was especially interested to know that DH and I were both remember when Challenger broke apart.  We also remember the Twin Towers falling on September 11.  He’s asked us many questions about that.

Then this year, we talked briefly about the Hindenburg disaster  in 1937 when we studied hydrogen, and he’s managed to find several other accounts of it in various books we have around.  I’m beginning to wonder if it was such a good idea to teach him to read or maybe I just need to figure out a way to get him interested in happier subjects.

But the mother of all disasters, at least in his eyes, has to be Pearl Harbor.  Ever since my parents visited Hawaii last summer, he’s been absolutely fascinated with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I can’t even count the times he’s said, “I’m so excited for next year because we get to study World War II and Pearl Harbor!”  Not that there will be anything new for him to learn!  Every time we visit Grandma and Poppa’s house, he pulls out their books on Pearl Harbor.  He studies the charts showing all the battleships’ positions.  He even convinced us to watch Tora, Tora, Tora together in July.

So I was not surprised Monday morning to have him come running into my bedroom saying, “Mom, Mom, it’s Pearl Harbor Day!”  Since we couldn’t actually visit Pearl Harbor, which is a dream of C’s, we decided to take a field trip to the Utah State Capitol building instead to see an exhibit on display there of the USS Utah, a battleship that was torpedoed and sunk on Dec. 7, 1941.

Case contains the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded Chief Watertender Tomich:

Photo of the partially submerged hull still visible at Pearl Harbor and fragments of the ship:

Ship’s clock and a small model of the USS Utah:

Larger model (along with another small model not built on the same scale):

We also saw numerous photographs of the ship and crew hanging in the gallery.  Towards the end of our visit, one of the docents who was giving a tour to two others, invited us to come see the Utah State Senate room with her as well as the State Supreme Court room, which is only used about one day per year now.  The Court meets regularly in the courthouse downtown, but once a year, while the legislature is in session, they meet at the Capitol so that all three branches of government are represented in the same building at the same time.

The Capitol building was renovated recently and that was the first time we’ve been up there to see it.  The Senate room still has the original 1916 roll-top desks, although they’re now outfitted with computers and all of the latest technology.  We’ll need to go back when the legislature is in session sometime after we’ve actually studied the three branches of government.

I should have taken more pictures, it was a beautiful room, but I was busy trying to keep D away from the very short railing in the gallery.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    December 10, 2009 7:19 am

    Some boys are like that, my oldest one likes to watch shows where biuldings collapse or race cars fly in the air, but sometimes he gets a little too scared, especially if he sees too much fire, so he gets up and turns the tv off. 🙂

  2. December 10, 2009 9:28 am

    Can’t say I blame C. I’m fascinated by civil engineering disasters like “Gallopin’ Gertie”, the Teton Dam and the Hyatt Regency Walkway. I loved all of the case studies we did in school.

    • cellista permalink*
      December 10, 2009 11:04 am

      Oh, I’m fascinated by certain things too–Sept. 11, WWII in general, Valley Forge. Probably a better word for C is fixated. We read about stuff and the other two think it’s interesting, then they move on. C just gets fixated by things, right now it’s disasters, and spends his free time reading everything he can get his hands on. He just doesn’t let things go! It’s kind of funny.

  3. Linders permalink
    December 10, 2009 8:04 pm

    K – You might want to check with the Pearl Harbor Survivors organization and see if there’s anyone in your area who was there and would be willing to meet C. DS9 is also a “Disaster Kid” – went through the Titanic phase and a couple of others, now D-Day and and a bit of Pearl Harbor. He was in absolute awe when he met a local man who came ashore the day after D-Day and described the German bunkers to him. The whole thing went from a fuzzy adventure about as real as Star Wars to…something very real. The man wasn’t too graphic but was good at letting DS know just how scary and awful it was. (I was a bit worried that it sounded rather glamorous to him.)

    And if you haven’t done so already, record the 10-part WWII series off of the History Channel (I think). It has awesome footage and of course addresses…Pearl Harbor.

    P.S. Love your baby-belly photo.

  4. December 11, 2009 10:27 am

    Remember Pearl Harbor — Keep America Alert!

    America’s oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 101st year is former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, U. S. Navy (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, “The Day of Infamy”, Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

    (Now deceased) ‘Navy Centenarian Sailor’, 103 year old, former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Radioman (ACRM, Combat Aircrewman), later wartime commissioned Chief Warrant Officer Julio ‘Jay’ Ereneta, U. S. Navy (Ret.), is a thirty year career veteran of World War One and World War Two. He first flew aircrewman in August 1922; flew rearseat Radioman/Gunner (1920s/1930s) in the tactical air squadrons of the Navy’s first aircraft carriers, USS LANGLEY (CV-1) and USS LEXINGTON (CV-2).

    Visit my photo album tribute to these centenarian veteran shipmates and other Pearl Harbor Survivors:

    San Diego, California

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