The other day, I found myself at the edge of the water, standing before a plaque that bore the name “Trout.” I looked a short distance away, and noticed another sport fish… Snook. There were others as well… Bonefish… Wahoo… Albacore… Perch. And while you might think that I was pleased to notice this collection of game fish… truth is, I was overcome with a much more solemn sense of appreciation and sadness.
You see, these fish were the names of American submarines lost in World War II, and these plaques memorialized the thousands of young men who were lost. These fish represented crews of 80-plus men who perished… together… and often without a trace or any explanation of what really happened. The memorial is at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
If ever you get a chance to visit Hawaii, before you commence to surf or fish, or enjoy boat drinks on Waikiki Beach… I’d suggest a visit to Pearl Harbor, The U.S.S. Arizona memorial, and the memorial to the American submariners.
Speaking from a purely personal standpoint, I know this was an important visit, because as I travel around to catch trout and perch… and albacore, bonefish, snook, wahoo, and whatever else I’m lucky enough to write about… I’ll always be reminded that none of that would be possible were it not for the freedoms bought the hard way by brave Americans generations ago. And I won’t ever forget it.