By Wendy Osher
More than 6,000 school-age children across Hawaiʻi participated in a simultaneous reading aloud program that focused on the historical significance of December 7th, 1941.
The event was held on the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and was hosted by the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks.
Here on Maui, more than 130 elementary and intermediate school students participated in the first-of-its-kind event. This included students from Pomaikai, Lihikai, Haiku, and Kihei elementary schools. Kilohana Elementary School on Molokai joined in as well.
Statewide, student participants included those enrolled in after-school care programs managed by the Department of Education, Kama’aina Kids, YMCA of Honolulu, YMCA of Maui, Island of Hawaii YMCA, Dreamco and Moiliilii Community Center.
The award-winning children’s book entitled, “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” was selected and read aloud for the program.
Through the book, kids learned about the real life story of an unlikely friendship between the late Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese fighter pilot Zenji Abe.
“Pearl Harbor Warriors” is a story of peace and forgiveness and how these men, who were once enemies of war, overcame their hatred and fear for one another.
“This is great opportunity for the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks to share with our students,” said Jason Justus, Maui Family YMCA Senior Program Director.
“This experience will paint a picture in the mind of our students on Maui, who may not have had the opportunity to visit the Memorial at Pearl Harbor to learn more about this historical event. Through this story, our students might also understand that enemies can become friends and share a common goal to bringing peace to future generations.”