My recent travels included a stop at Pearl Harbor. I had been there before, many years ago. This time it seemed different; there was an added dimension. I saw Servicemen in uniform off-base. It is not Pearl Harbor that has changed, it’s everywhere else. Before Vietnam a soldier on leave wore his uniform in public with pride and respect. Today a uniform engenders both scorn and respect from various disparate members of the public. We have lost something when our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are seen as controversial figures when in uniform.
God and the Soldier, we adore,
In time of danger, not before.
The danger passed and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the Soldier slighted.
One of the many highlights of the trip was a luncheon at the Sam Snead restaurant at the Navy-Marine Club House in Honolulu. It was a monthly affair of pilots who call themselves UFO’s because they are members of a select group known as the United Flying Octogenarians – having flown as pilot in command of an aircraft after achieving the age of 80. There were 14 of us at the table. The pilot sitting at my right was one of the two declared Republican primary contenders for the U.S. Senate, John Carroll. He said “You know, everyone I know at this table is a Republican”. John has been responsible for much of the environmental reform on the Islands. I live in the Northeast. Some things are different in Hawaii.