Sunday, November 22, 2009

Better Late Than Never

This is the post I wanted to do last week, but never got around to.
On Veteran's Day, I just sort of stayed home and prayed for rain in order to validate my sluggish and sedentary lifestyle.
I never got out to where I had planned on going.
So today, although I awoke at the crack of dawn, I went back to sleep at around nine and didn't wake up until after twelve.
Well, I thought to myself, enough of that, I better get out and do something.
I rolled out the Beach Bike and off I went:

The area on the Mokapu Peninsula in Kaneohe that was once called Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay is now called Marine Corps Base Hawaii(MCBH).
It was taken over for military use in 1918, used by the Navy(NASKB), then the Marines took over the airfield in 1952 establishing Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, and finally today it is known as MCBH.
The Marine Corps tells you all about it here.
I am not affiliated with anyone in the military, so I am not allowed on base. I did get to kinda sorta cruise around one day in April I think, when some bicycle crits were held on one of the airstrips there. Today though, I had to go to the visitors center and get a pass even though I was only venturing about a hundred yards past the main gate:

The area adjacent to the gate is called the Pacific War Memorial. The pass I got allowed me to access that area only, and I was instructed to let the guards at the gate know what I was doing.
The Pacific War Memorial not only has a replica of the Marine Corps War Memorial, but some cool aircraft as well:

I'm going to go out on a limb and call that an early version of a Grumman E-2 Hawkeye(it's actually a Lockheed P-2 Neptune. Eh, I tried.). It was getting late and I didn't make it to the plaque area.
There was also a troop carrier:

A tractor:

And a Chance Vought F-8 Crusader:

What I really wanted to see was this bad boy:

Probably the most feared fighter jet of it's era, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. My intentions were to take pictures of this badass jet and my badass bike together, however I had to leave my bike parked next to the visitor's center. I was going to ask if it was okay bring my bike over there until I saw this:

This aircraft, like the others, are separate memorials. As I said, I was pressed for time so I couldn't check them all, but the ones I did check had memorial plaques next to them or like the F-4, names of the missing or killed. Well, taking pictures of the aircraft along with my bike were out of the question. The pictures that I were taking were, well, taking on a whole new meaning.
The sun was getting low, so I hurried off to the replica of the Marine Corps War Memorial statue.
Part II is next.


dogimo said...

That's a cool statue!

I wish that life-size monumental sculpture was not always put on a pedestal, though. I think it would be cooler to have it at ground level, to be able to see these bronze men on a more human scale, albeit, still iconic and eternal and inspiring.

Perhaps as a compromise, a dais. There could be stairs up one side, and a narrow walkway around the sculpture, so that those who wished could walk up and view at eye level, but the dais would still serve the function of a pedestal for those who prefer to stand back and look up.

limom said...

What bothered me the most was the angled rock base the sculpture sits upon. From below the sculpture, the rocks block some of the viewing angles.
I didn't realize the original was so gigantic. Having never seen it in person, I am unqualified to comment on it, but this replica, at this scale is, I'm having trouble finding the right words, profound at the very least.
Visiting that statue doesn't have quite the same impact as say, the Arizona Memorial, but it's close.

limom said...

In doing some quick research, I found that the the sculpture at MCBH is not a replica of the Marine Corps War Memorial, but of a similar monument called the National Iwo Jima Memorial
that resides in Conneticut.
The Marine Corps monument does not sit on an angled base.
I'll edit the post to reflect this new found information and punish myself for not doing my research!