Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The Footprints of Heroes
Her name in the native tongue is Puu Hawaii Loa. Her story is seldom told anymore, but her history will live forever within the hearts and minds of the Hawaiian Kama`aina as well as the American service members surrounding her. Puu Hawaii Loa is known today as Kansas Tower; a towering mountain on the Windward side of the island of Oahu. KT, as she is called by her Marines, was once the site of American radar towers and on December 7, 1941 it was also the post of several Naval radio operators who died while manning their radar stations. It is situated directly in the center of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, which has been my home for the past three years.
I have ran up her steep slopes. I have crawled into the machine gun nests still carved into her sides. I have many times stood on her summit and visioned the Imperial Japanese zeros coming over the Ko`olau Mountains to begin their strafing runs on what was then NAS, Kaneohe Bay. I pictured the plumes of black smoke billowing from the hangars that housed their aircraft. I envisioned the quiet Sunday morning in paradise being shattered by machinegun fire, bombs and the screams of terror. Standing on top of KT, I felt a closeness with those heroes who stood then, where I was standing now. The pain that I felt that day as I stood upon her peak, paled in comparison to the pride that I had...for I knew that I was standing in the footprints of heroes.