Welcome to Day #219 of our "365 Parks in 365 Days" adventure!
This morning I'm winging my way to Green Bay, WI to speak at the conference of their State Park employees tomorrow. I am so excited as I haven't been to Green Bay before, and I'm told that once my friends pick me up at the airport we are heading to a unit of their park system, a great thrill for me as I love to discover new places and also to have some familiarity with the area I'm speaking in. That way, I can see what's going on and suggest ways to strengthen and improve their programs.
Imagine a scene such as this being a theater of war, even as it shows humans how vulnerable we are to the elements. I honor the service and sacrifice of all who suffered here..landkarte-online.net/pics.
I was so gratified to get these notes from my sisters on the Pacific Rim - one of whom I have yet to meet - in response to Friday's tour:
"Aloha dearest sister! I must write you today when your post is about a place somewhat close to me - at least in feeling and culture. My boys are paddlers in Hawaii and Samoa is dear to us. I did not know they had National Park! Wow! ... I am really enjoying your book and recommended it to a neighbor who is going to start traveling from Park to Park in an RV as part of his dream retirement. What more perfect book for him?" - Naalehu, HI
"Aloha from Maui, Audrey!Enjoyed reading Day # 218! National Park of American Samoa is one of the six parks of our association, Hawaii Pacific Parks Assn. Forwarding this to the rest of our board members. Looks like I will have to add this to my bucket list!" Maui, HI (Thank you! We've only toured Hawaii Volcanoes so far in this series. Would love it if a member of your association would consider writing about the other five parks for us?)
From our beloved and now famous Ranger Betty Soskin I received this note:
"Audrey! What a lovely tribute, and I'm making an appointment for a humility transplant from a willing Nun ASAP. The Shutdown for me was anything but. My living-room was crawling with media everyday for two weeks....The story was run in Sweden, Dublin, and I've heard from young people in Afghanistan, Burma, and Guam, as well as those from inner-cities all over the country. I've been invited to participate on a talk show in Ireland when time permits. What a world!" Richmond, CA
I also got this note,
"You have what appears to be two books you are promoting. "Our True Nature" and "Legacy on the Land" What is the difference between the two and what are the similarities?" and responded, "Legacy on the Land, 2009, is the book Frank and I wrote together, sharing our amazement at discovering the National Park System in our round-the-country road trip in 1995, and our subsequent efforts to promote the parks among communities of color and influence policy to protect them. Our True Nature, 2012, is a travel guide that I wrote promoting 59 of my favorites among the 170 units of the Park System that I've visited from Alaska to Florida, including the historic contributions of Americans of color at the places where it happened." Please buy some!
And this most important note came from my friend Deny on Friday:
"The park that is actually across the international dateline is War in the Pacific National Historical Park on Guam and Saipan."
I love seeing the National Park Service arrowhead insignia wherever I roam across America and now I know I'll see it elsewhere around the world. It says "Welome!' to me. NPS Photo.
Wow! Another park I didn't know about! America's National Park System = The gift that keeps on giving. Let no on tell you otherwise.
According to the park's website,
"War in the Pacific National Historical Park is located on the tropical island of Guam, approximately 13 degrees north of the equator and about 3,300 miles southwest of Hawaii.
Because of its western location from the International Date Line, Guam is the first to experience a new day in the United States, hence the island is 'Where America's Day Begins.'
Which leads to stories such as this in the local press:
"Guam - A representative has pitched an idea to make today - tomorrow - in the Aloha State. Hawaii is now making a push to have the International Date Line moved altogether.
For decades Guam has been known as the place 'Where America's Day Begins,' but Hawaii state representative Gene Ward wants the International Date Line moved so that his state can be the place 'Where America Begins Its Day.' In an editorial in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Ward announced his plans to introduce a resolution asking Governor Neil Abercrombie to seek the federal government's approval to move the International Date Line. . ."
Young people on the island of Guam practice the ancient ceremonies by which they pass down their history and cultural traditions.
Back to the park's site,
"While Guam is only 212 square miles, the island is rich in history. Only hours after Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Japanese began aerial bombings on Guam. After two days of strafing, the Japanese came ashore and hours later the naval governor surrendered the American territory.
"The island remained under Japanese control for 31 months until July 21, 1944 when the United States returned and liberated the island. Many lives were lost and the suffering was great for all those involved in the battles on Guam and throughout the Pacific theater.
"In order to remember the United States' and Guam's involvement in World War II, War in the Pacific was established in 1978 to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of those participating in the campaigns of the Pacific Theater of World War II and to conserve and interpret outstanding natural, scenic, and historic values and objects of the island of Guam.
"While the park is most noted for its historical resources, the warm climate, sandy beaches, and turquoise waters beckon visitors and residents to discover and rediscover the island's history, environment, and recreational opportunities. . ."
I am grateful to all the people over time who have given so much to secure our country and our freedom over time. I fervently look forward to the day when mankind no longer wages war against itself and no longer does damage to the planet. Love is my answer to everything.