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Stephanie Drenka


Flashback Friday // Hawaii

Flashback Friday // Hawaii

“For me, the magic of Hawaii comes from the stillness, the sea, the stars.” (Joanne Harris)

This past Wednesday marked the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As both the adopted granddaughter of two WWII veterans and an Asian-American, I have deeply conflicting feelings about this part of history. In the wake of Pearl Harbor, Chinese, Korean, and Filipino Americans tried to prove their undivided loyalty to America and separate themselves from their Japanese neighbors, wearing buttons with slogans such as “I am Chinese” and “Korean American” on them. Articles like Life magazine’s, “How to Tell Japs from the Chinese,” advised American readers on how to distinguish between Chinese “friends” and Japanese “enemies.”

Reflecting on WWII and more specifically, the subsequent internment of Japanese Americans (the majority of whom were U.S. citizens), is a difficult task any time, but the pain feels especially palpable this year. With today’s political climate and anti-Muslim sentiment, Pearl Harbor hits a little too close for me. I genuinely fear that some have not learned from history, and I wonder if we are doomed to repeat it.

Instead of dwelling further right now on the dark side of history, I thought I’d end the week on a higher note by sharing memories from a family trip to Hawaii that we took four years ago. It was my second time in Hawaii, but first visiting Honolulu and Pearl Harbor. It was one of the most memorable of my travels, and what I’d like to fall asleep dreaming about tonight.

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