On the Road Again: A Pearl Harbor Experience

Pearl Harbor in Honolulu is a beautiful place for Hawaii-bound bands to perform. Originally a Navy base, it was destroyed by Japanese air raids on Dec. 7, 1941. Now, it is a memorial to the men and women who died there nearly 70 years ago. Participating in the annual Waikiki Holiday Parade, which honors the victims of the attack, is merely one way for marching bands to pay their respects to these fallen Americans.

Because some Pearl Harbor survivors make annual pilgrimages to the site, visiting marching band students frequently meet people who have lived through one of the most important and tragic events in U.S. military history.

“We had a group perform there two years ago,” explains Patrick Connor, president of Director’s Choice Tour and Travel. “They were performing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever,’ and there was a survivor there. He had a tear in his eye as he went up and talked to the group. He said hearing the song brought back so many memories, both good and bad. He talked about the friends he’s had throughout the years, many of whom are now gone because of the Pearl Harbor attack. When they played it again, he conducted the band. He said his life was complete because he had done that with them.”

Photo by Director’s Choice Tour & Travel. All rights reserved.

About author

Janel Healy

Janel Healy currently works as a professional vocalist for Holland America Line. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2008 with a degree in communication and a minor in American studies. While at USC, she sang alto in her a cappella group, the SoCal VoCals, which won first place in the 2008 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. She played trumpet and piano in junior high.