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Opportunity of a Lifetime for Conn Wood

By CONN WOOD
Guest Writer

Conn Wood, on the right, visits Pearl Harbor during The "Opportunity of a Lifetime."

On Aug. 1-6, I attended the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Landmarks of American History workshop for school teachers along with one other Utah teacher, Shalyn Nelson, from Enterprise. The workshop was entitled "Remembering Pearl Harbor: History, Memory and Memorial."

The resounding words, "Aloha" and "Mahalo" will be two words that I will cherish forever; but most importantly I will cherish the moments of personal reflection on a topic that has become a personal passion of study.

I felt honored to be one of the 100 teachers chosen from across the 50 states to attend this workshop. We were told at the dinner reception held at the USS Bowfin Museum that we were to work a little and shop a lot. In reality, the workshop was a good mix of both.

As we entered the USS Arizona Memorial, I felt goose bumps run through my whole body. I felt fortunate being able to be on the tour hosted by the park superintendent, park historian and the park education specialist. We were all there to learn more about historical landmarks and felt honored to be treated like gold as the red carpet was at our very footsteps. Our group also felt special as all 100 teachers paraded before some 1,000 invited tourists waiting for long hours to be taken out to the memorial.

One of my memorable experiences was visiting Hickam Officer's Club where we were fortunate to have lunch and listen to stories of WWII veterans and survivors. We, along with the veterans, felt like celebrities because of the many news crews that attended the luncheon.

The most impressive part of the workshop was the guided tour of attack sites on Oahu: Hickam AFB, Ford Island, USS Utah, Wheeler Field, Schofield and Punchbowl. Our tour bus had the privilege of having Daniel Martinez, the USS Memorial Historian, be our guide. This was an experience that words cannot describe.





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