Bulldogs Visit Pearl Harbor

Dec. 20, 2012

By Theresa Kurtz

HONOLULU-- "Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy," are the famous words spoken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

A few weeks after the 71st anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing, the Fresno State football team took time to visit the National Park and visitor center.

"It was my second time visiting Pearl Harbor, but it was great to go with the guys," said senior Travis Brown. "It was a cool experience with the team and being able to see the gratitude on their faces. It brought the events of that day to our attention."

After spending the morning practicing, the Bulldogs took a timeout from preparing for their 12th bowl appearance in the past 14 seasons to visit one of the most famous attractions on Oah'u. The `Dogs spent the afternoon at Pearl Harbor learning about Pearl Harbor and remembering those who lost their lives on that tragic day.

"It was a great experience," said senior All-American Phillip Thomas. "To know that people fought for our country, risked their lives and got their lives taken protecting our country. To learn the story, which is an amazing story, makes me very appreciative of those people and my heart goes out to their families."

The Bulldogs viewed museums and memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives and fought for our country. After reflecting and taking in the sights, the `Dogs viewed a short 20 minute video that told the story of the attacks on the U.S. and Pearl Harbor. The video shared why the attacks happened and showed real footage of the attacks.

"To sit in the theatre watching a film that gives you a better understanding of it and you could look around and see people were ready to cry," said linebacker Jeremiah Toma. "It was really moving. The atmosphere itself made you realize that these people cared about our country and we are here living our lives every day because of them."

Once the video ended, the Bulldogs boarded a boat driven by the U.S. Navy. The boat took the team out to the U.S.S. Arizona memorial, which still lies where she sank on Dec. 7, 1941.

The `Dogs spent several moments taking in the sight of the large battleship that lie on the harbor floor and is the tomb to over 1,100 service men. Each member of the team threw a flower into the water in remembrance of all the service men, who died protecting our freedom.

At the memorial, is a wall with the names of those whose final resting place is the USS Arizona. The Bulldogs spent time reading through all the names.

"It's an amazing story and to see the names of those who lost their lives puts it all into perspective, " Brown said.

The memorial was constructed in 1958, but eight years earlier a flag pole, which still stands today on the memorial was the first step in honoring the 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on Dec. 7, 1941. The memorial is 184-foot long structure that overlooks the mid-potion of the sunken battleship. There are three main sections of the memorial the entry room, the assembly room and the shrine room, where the names of all those that were killed are engraved into a marble wall.

"It was really moving and a special moment for all of us," added Toma. "It was a treat to be able to go there and actually be where everything took place. As a kid, you learn about this in school. You learn how to fully appreciate it when you are around it and can actually see it. It was a special moment for all of us and I am grateful for the opportunity."

The Bulldogs face SMU in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 on ESPN.

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