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We toured the USS Bowfin at the Pearl Harbor memorial — and as much as I’d love to wax eloquently about the impact it had on me, I’m frankly at a loss for words. Pearl Harbor was one of the most significant national monuments I’ve ever visited, and I would encourage everyone who is able to go.

I grew up in a coastal town and was familiar with the layout of battleships, aircraft carriers, and submarines – but this was different. Maybe it’s age, perspective, or my minor in World War II history, but I was completely overwhelmed by what America’s young men endured to protect our country and our freedom.

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While most of you are familiar with the Vargas and -inspired pin-up girls, it’s typically in a kitschy, irreverent way. Though light-hearted in nature, I had cause to pause during my tour of the sub, as a few lucky ladies were still in the spotlight in the seamen’s quarters. These gals not only brought light and joy to men asked to remain quiet and still during, quite frankly, terrifying situations (see: memo about the mine avoiding mission), they brought memories of girlfriends left behind and wives to come.

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[Text: All Hands Memorandum. Tomorrow we will make a submerged transit of Tsushima Straits which is reported mined. We plan to run under the mines so that our chief danger is in finding a mine cable which suspends the bottom mooring up to the mine. We expect the FM to pick up mines so that we can avoid them. However, quiet must be maintained throughout the boat during the 16 hour dive. If you hear a noise like a cable scraping along the side, report it to the conning tower and report which side so we can swing clear. Quiet must also be maintained in case there are any listening patrol vessels. Others have made the trip safely and I am confident that we can make this transit with safety, and thereby reach the happy hunting grounds of the Japan Sea. It will be a long 16 hour day, but well worth it. AKT]

I often thank those who are in uniform for their service – and remembering our nation’s history is a way I thank those who can no longer shake hands. Rather than viewing these pin-ups as a frivolous “boys will be boys” moment, I find I’m appreciating what they stood leaned gracefully for. The “Seahorse Girl of the Month”? Awesome.

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~Lainey