Monthly Archives: January 2013

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

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On his 111th, the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, decides to write down the entire story of the adventure he had 60 years earlier for his nephew Frodo.

Long before Bilbo became involved, the Dwarf Thror became King of the Lonely Mountain and brought an era of prosperity to his family until the arrival of Smaug the Dragon. Smaug destroyed the nearby town of Dale before driving the Dwarves out of the mountain and taking over their hoard of gold. Thror’s grandson, Thorin, saw King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside and was saddened when they left instead of helping his people. This resulted in Thorin’s hatred of Elves.

In the Shire, young Bilbo is tricked by the wizard Gandalf the Grey into hosting a party for Thorin and his company of Dwarves: Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur. Gandalf’s claims his goal is to recruit Bilbo as the Dwarves “burglar” to help them steal their treasure back from Smaug. Bilbo reluctantly joins the company on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. While they are traveling, the company gets captured by Trolls. Bilbo stalls them from eating the Darves until Gandalf arrives and exposes the Trolls to sunlight, turning them to stone. They search the Trolls cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elven blade, Orcrist and Glamdring, and Gandalf finds an Elven shortsword which he gives to Bilbo.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released on December 14th, 2012. This film had a budget of an estimated $180 million. On its opening weekend it grossed $84 million. The film was an enormous success earning an estimated $939 million worldwide. An Unexpected Journey earned $13 million during its midnight run, setting a December midnight record. The film has been nominated for 3 Academy Awards, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

The Hobbit films were produced back to back just like The Lord of the Rings films. Principal photography for the film began on March 21, 2011 in New Zealand and ended on July 6, 2012, after 266 days of filming. The film used a shooting and projection frame rate of 48 frames per second, becoming the first feature film with a wide release to do so.

“Farewell, my brave Hobbits. My work is now finished. Here at last, on the shores of the sea…comes the end of our Fellowship. I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.”

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The time has come for everyone to unite together to save Middle-Earth. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Theoden, Gamling, and Eomer meet up with Merry, Pippin and Treebeard at Isengard. While there, Gandalf tries to get Saruman to come down from his tower. Instead, Saruman is wounded and falls from the tower to his death. The group returns to Edoras, where Pippin looks into Saruman‘s recovered palantir, in which Sauron appears and invades his mind. Luckily Pippin tells him nothing regarding Frodo and the Ring. Because of this, Gandalf concludes that Sauron is planning to attack Minas Tirith. Gandalf rides with Pippin to find Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, to whom Pippin swears his service. Gandalf urges Denethor to call Rohan for aid, but Denethor declines, fearing Aragorn and Gandalf plan to overthrow him. The Morgul army, led by the Nazgul, drives the Gondorians out of Osgiliath. Denethor sends his son Faramir on a suicide mission to reclaim the city. The mission ends up being unsuccessful. Under instruction from Gandalf, Pippin evades city guards to light the distress beacon, signaling Theoden and Aragorn to assemble the Rohirrim for battle.

Believing their forces to be outnumbered by Sauron’s, Elrond gives Aragorn the sword Anduril to acquire the service of the Army of the Dead, who owe allegiance to the heir of Isildur. Along with Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn journeys into the Paths of the Dead and gains the loyalty of the King of the Dead and his men by revealing Anduril, proving himself the heir of Isildur. At Dunharrow, Theoden rides off to war, unaware that Eowyn and Merry have secretly joined his forces.

Sauron’s armies storm to Minas Tirith, led by the Witch-king. Believing a severely wounded Faramir to be dead, Denethor attempts to burn his son and himself alive, but Gandalf intervenes and saves Faramir, but Denethor commits suicide. Just as the Gondorians are about to be defeated, the Rohirrim army arrives and counter-attacks in a massive cavalry charge led by Theoden. This shifts the tide of the battle, and the Orcs begin to retreat. However, the Haradrim arrive and join the Orc army, turning the tide. The Witch-king kills Theoden, only to be wounded by Merry and finished off by Eowyn. On the verge of defeat, the Rohirrim are saved when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli arrive with the Army of the Dead and overpower Sauron’s forces, ending the battle. Aragorn keeps his promise to the Army of the Dead by freeing them so their souls can go to the afterlife.

Meanwhile, Frodo, Sam and Gollum travel to Minas Morgul. When Sam overhears Gollum’s plans to murder him and Frodo and take the Ring for himself, Sam tries to tell Frodo to not trust Gollum. Gollum persuades Frodo that Sam wants the Ring for himself, which causes Frodo to tell Sam to go home. A heartbroken Sam leaves, but discovers Gollum’s treachery and follows after them. Gollum betrays Frodo, leaving him in the lair of the giant spider Shelob, who paralyzes Frodo before being wounded and driven away by Sam. An Orc patrol captures Frodo and takes him to Sauron’s fortress. Sam rescues Frodo from the tower right before he is about to be killed, and they continue their journey to Mount Doom.

Meanwhile, Aragorn leads his remaining men to the Black Gate of Mordor, distracting Sauron and his forces so Sam and Frodo can enter Mount Doom. Sam carries the weakened Frodo up the volcano, but before they make it to the top, Gollum attacks them. At the Crack of Doom, Frodo succumbs to the Ring’s power and refuses to destroy it. Gollum knocks out Sam and then attacks Frodo. He bites his finger off and seizes the Ring for himself. An enraged Frodo attacks Gollum, and they both fall over the edge. At the last second, Frodo grabs onto the ledge, leaving Gollum to fall into the lava, taking the Ring with him. As the Ring melts in the volcano, Sauron is destroyed and the land of Mordor collapses, taking down most of his forces.

Frodo and Sam are saved from the rising lava by Eagles, who are led by Gandalf. In the aftermath of the great war, Aragorn is crowned King, heralding a new age of peace, while the four hobbits are bowed to by all of Gondor for their courageous efforts. The four Hobbits return home to the Shire, where Sam marries his childhood sweetheart, Rosie Cotton. Four years later, Frodo leaves Middle-earth for the Undying Lands with Gandalf, Bilbo, Elrond, Celeborn, and Galadriel, leaving his account of their quest in a book to Sam.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was released on December 17th, 2003. This film like the other two was filmed in New Zealand and had an estimated budget of $94 million. It became one of the greatest box-office successes of all time, being only the second film to gross #1 billion worldwide. It was the highest-grossing film of 2003. On its opening weekend it grossed $72 million. The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, it won all of them. They include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Make-up, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. The film also won 4 Golden Globes, including Best Picture for Drama and Best Director. In 2007, Total Film named The Return of the King the 3rd best film of the past decade.

Music is always a huge part of a film. Not only does it add noise to the scenes, it adds character to them as well. You could say that the music sets the mood for each scene that takes place, whether it be one of love, happiness, anger, or sadness. The music is the heartbeat of a film. The music for the trilogy was composed by Howard Shore. Shore watched the assembly cut of the film and had to write 7 minutes of music per day in order to keep up with the schedule. Actors Billy Boyd, Viggo Mortensen, and Liv Tyler also contributed to the film’s music. Boyd sings on screen as Faramir charges toward Osgiliath, Mortensen sings on screen as he is crowned King, and Tyler sings as Aragorn heals Ewoyn. James Galaway contributed by playing the flute as Frodo and Sam climb Mount Doom. The end title song, “Into the West,” was composed by Shore with lyrics by Fran Walsh. The lyrics were sung by Annie Lennox.

The last lines of the film are said by Frodo. They are as follows:

“And thus it was. A fourth age of middle-earth began. And the fellowship of the ring… though eternally bound by friendship and love… was ended. Thirteen months to the day since Gandalf sent us on our long journey… we found ourselves looking upon a familiar sight. We were home. How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on… when in your heart you begin to understand… there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend… some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold. Bilbo once told me his part in this tale would end… that each of us must come and go in the telling. Bilbo’s story was now over. There would be no more journeys for him… save one. My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.”

In my mind all I can think is this…it’s funny how one tiny object like a ring can shape an adventure of a lifetime.

“All our hopes now lie with two little Hobbits, somewhere in the wilderness.”

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Frodo and Sam continue their journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. One night, the two Hobbits are attacked by the ring’s former owner, Gollum. They manage to capture him, but Frodo takes pity on him, understanding the burden of the Ring. Frodo finally persuades Gollum to lead them to Mordor. Right away Sam doesn’t trust Gollum. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursue the Urak-hai who have taken Merry and Pippin as prisoners. Eomer and his men ambush the Uruk-hai that are holding Merry and Pippin captive. Merry and Pippin flee to Fangorn Forest and meet Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents. After learning of Eomer’s ambush, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli discover Merry and Pippin’s trail. The trio is confronted by Gandalf, reborn as Gandalf the White. The four then travel to Edoras and when they arrive they free King Theoden of Rohan from an evil spell. Due to the threat that Saruman is creating, Theoden moves his people to Helm’s Deep for safety. Fearing Helm’s Deep will not survive, Gandalf leaves to find Eomer, the King’s nephew. When Saruman learns of the move to Helm’s Deep, he sends out an army to the stronghold with the intention of wiping out all of Rohan and Isildur’s heir with them.

Meanwhile, Frodo, Sam, and Gollum travel through the Dead Marshes while escaping from a Nazgul. Upon reaching the Black Gate, they find it closed and heavily guarded by Orcs. Gollum convinces the pair that he will lead them to an unguarded entrance. After awhile Gollum begins to struggle with his loyalty to Frodo and his consuming need for the Ring. When Sam and Frodo are captured by Rangers of Ithilien, Frodo reveals Gollum’s presence to spare his life. Gollum feels betrayed and begins to plot against Frodo. Learning of Frodo’s Ring, the ranger’s captain, Faramir, who is also Boromir’s brother, orders that it be sent to Gondor.

As Theoden’s forces ride to Helm’s Deep , they are attacked by Saruman’s Warg riders and Aragorn is thrown from a cliff to his apparent death in a raging river. In Rohan, the barely alive Aragorn washes up on the river bank. With the help of Theoden’s nephews old horse Brego, he makes his way to Helm’s Deep and warns Theoden that he has seen Saruman’s dark army headed for the fortress. The king gathers his men to fight against the advancing army of Uruk-hai. When night falls, a multitude of Elves arrive to re-enforce the men of Rohan. In Fangorn Forest, Merry, Pippin, Treebeard, and other Ents hold a council to decide on the role of the Ents in the war with Saruman.

The battle of Helm’s Deep begins between the Uruk-hai and Rohirrim with Aragorn and his companions. Explosives are used against the walls, allowing the Orcs to breach the fortress. In Fangorn, Treebeard and the Ents refuse to get involved in the war until Pippin shows them that Saruman has destroyed the forest. Enraged, Treebeard commands the Ents to seek vengeance. Meanwhile, Aragorn leads the army to attack the Uruk-hai, allowing the women and children of Rohan to escape into the mountains. When it looks like the Uruk-hai are going to win, Gandalf appears, accompanied by Eomer and his men. The combined forces cause the Uruk-hai to flee into Fangorn, where the Ents and their allies attack them. At Isengard, the Ents defeat the Uruk-hai and break the river dam, drowning the surviving Ork defenders, flooding Isengard, and stranding Saruman in his tower.

Meanwhile, Faramir has the Hobbits taken to Osgiliath. Faramir’s forces are attacked by Orcs that are led by a Nazgul. Frodo succumbs to the Ring’s influence and attacks Sam, who tearfully reminds him of their friendship. The Nazgul is defeated and flees. Faramir, understanding the danger of the Ring, frees the Hobbits and sends them on their journey, joined by Gollum. Gollum vows to reclaim the Ring by having “her” kill Frodo and Sam. At the same time, Gandalf remarks that Sauron will seek revenge for Saruman’s defeat, stating that hope now rests with two little Hobbits.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released on December 18th, 2002. This film, like the first one was filmed in New Zealand and had an estimated budget of $94 million. The film was an enormous box-office success earning more than $926 million worldwide. On its opening weekend it grossed $62 million. It is also currently the 21st highest grossing film of all time and the 16th most successful film in North America. The movie won two Academy Awards, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing. It also won 3 British Academy Film Awards, Best Costume Design, Best Special Visual Effects, and Orange Film of the Year. The Battle of Helm’s Deep has been named as one of the greatest screen battles of all time, while Gollum was named as the 3rd favorite computer-generated film character by Entertainment Weekly in 2007.

Weta Digital began animating Gollum in 1998 to convince New Line that they could achieve the task at hand. Andy Serkis “played” Gollum by providing his voice and actions on set. At first, Gollum was set to be a CG character, but Peter Jackson was so impressed by Serkis’ audition tape that he decided to use him on set too. Gollum’s CG model was redesigned in 2001 when Serkis was cast as Smeagol, Gollum’s former self, so the transformation between Smeagol and Gollum would be more convincing. The two personalities of Smeagol and Gollum are established during a scene in which they argue over remaining loyal to Frodo. The two personalities talk to each other by contrasting camera angles and by Serkis altering his voice and his actions for each personality.

My brother showed be this video a few years ago. It’s a parody of when Legolas says, “They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard.” It cracks me up every time. Enjoy!

“In the common tongue it reads, ‘One Ring to Rule Them All. One Ring to Find Them. One Ring to Bring Them All and In The Darkness Bind Them.'”

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“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.”

The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring - MoviesIn ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the one ring. He filled it with his own power so that someday he could rule all others. In battle against Sauron, Prince Isildur cuts the ring from Sauron’s hand, destroying his physical form. However, Sauron’s life source is bound to the Ring, which allows him to survive while the Ring also survives. Isildur, corrupted by the Ring’s power, refuses to destroy it. When Isildur is killed by Orcs awhile later, the Ring is lost in a river for 2,500 years until a strange creature named Gollum comes by it. Gollum keeps it for nearly 500 years until it is found and stolen by a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.

Sixty years later, Bilbo leaves the Ring to his nephew, Frodo Baggins, when he decides that his time in Middle Earth has come to an end. When Frodo learns that the Ring belonged to Sauron, the wizard Gandalf the Grey warns him that Sauron’s forces will come for him, and has Frodo leave the Shire accompanied by his friend, Samwise Gangee. Gandalf rides to Isengard to meet with the head of his order, Saruman the White, where he reveals himself to be a servant to Sauron and imprisons Gandalf atop his tower. He then orders Sauron’s Orcs to construct weapons of war and produce a new breed of Orcs, the Uruk-hai.

Along the way, Sam and Frodo are joined by Merry, Pippin, and the mysterious ranger Aragorn who hides them from Sauron’s servants, the Nazgul and agrees to lead them to Rivendell. Gandalf soon escapes from Saruman’s tower and heads to Rivendell, where Elrond, has called a council of races still loyal to Middle Earth to decide what should be done with the Ring. He reveals that the Ring can be destroyed by throwing it into the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring to Mordor, accompanied by Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, and Aragorn. They are also joined by the Elf Legolas, the Dwarf Gimli, and a man of Gondor named Boromir. Together they form the Fellowship of the Ring.

Slowed by Saruman’s magic, the Fellowship is forced to travel through the abandoned Dwarf city of Moria. While inside, the group is attacked by Orcs and a Balrog, an ancient demon of fire and shadow. As the group struggles to escape, Gandalf attempts to defeat the Balrog, allowing the others to flee, but Gandalf and the Balrog fall into a huge abyss. Grieving Gandalf’s apparent death, the group flees into the forest of Lothlorien, where they are sheltered by its rulers, the Elves Galadriel and Celeborn.

When the group later arrives at Parth Galen, Boromir starts to become corrupted from the Ring’s magic. He attempts to take it from Frodo, believing that it is the only way to save the people of Gondor. Remembering Galadriel’s warning that the Ring will eventually corrupt every member of the Fellowship, Frodo escapes by the Ring’s power of invisibility and decides to continue the journey to Mordor alone. The Uruk-hai soon arrive and Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas hold them off so Frodo can escape. Merry, Pippin, and Boromir lead the Orcs away from Frodo. Boromir is shot fatally by the Uruk-hai’s  leader, Lurtz, while Merry and Pippin are captured and taken away. Aragorn kills Lurtz and Boromir dies with Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas by his side. The three then set out to rescue Merry and Pippin, while Frodo allows Sam to join him on his journey to Mordor.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released on December 19, 2001. The movie was filmed in New Zealand and had a budget of an estimated $93 million. The movie was a major box office success, earning over $870 million worldwide and became the second highest-grossing film of 2001 in the U.S. and worldwide the 5th highest-grossing film ever at the time. On its opening weekend it grossed $47 million. As of 2012, it is the 13th highest grossing worldwide film of all time. It won four Academy Awards, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects. It also won five British Academy Film Awards, including Best Film and Best Director.

I have always loved fantasy films. The Lord of the Rings series happens to be one of my favorites. I love how instead of making up a story that occurs in the normal world we know, J.R.R. Tolkien created an entire world of his own, where magical creatures, hobbits, dwarfs, and elves roam. Every part of the film is filled with wonderful music and amazing scenery. I haven’t read the books yet but I’m working on it. I am currently reading The Hobbit and I plan on reading the other 3 books as soon as I can. If you love fantasy worlds and fantasy creatures, read the books and watch the movies. I know you will enjoy them.

“World War II, for us, began at Pearl Harbor, and 1,177 men still lie entombed in the battleship Arizona. American suffered, but America grew stronger. It was not inevitable. The times tried our souls, and through the trial, we overcame.”

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Rafe and Danny are both promoted to Captain, awarded the Silver Star, and assigned to now Colonel Dootlittle for a dangerous and top-secret mission. Before their departure, Evelyn meets Rafe and reveals that she is pregnant with Danny’s child. She says that she is going to remain with Danny, though deep down she will always love Rafe just as much. Rafe can do nothing but swallow his sorrow and accept this.

The top-secret mission ends up being more dangerous than any of them thought it would be. They are instructed to fly B-25 bombers off the deck of an aircraft carrier and head to Japan where they will bomb as many military and industrial plants that they can. They will then head to China where they can land in friendly territory. Things don’t go as planned and the men are forced to take off early from the aircraft carrier. All the men succeed in bombing Japan but they are forced to crash-land in a rice field in a Japanese held area when their planes run out of fuel. Just as Rafe is about to be shot by Japanese soldiers, Danny flies overhead and shoots the attacking enemies. Danny’s plane crashes and Rafe finds him badly injured. Before Rafe can do anything to help Danny, Japanese soldiers attack him and begin to hold the others captive. To save himself and the others he begins shooting the Japanese soldiers. When the Japanese soldiers begin firing back, Danny jumps up and acts as a human shield to protect Rafe. Due to this Danny is fatally wounded. Rafe holds a dying Danny and tearfully tells him that he can’t die because he is going to be a father. With his dying words, Danny replies by saying, “No, you are.” The crew arrives back in Hawaii where a hopeful Evelyn awaits. She sees Rafe and is excited, but then she sees him carrying Danny’s coffin.

Dorie Miller becomes the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. Rafe is soon discharged from the army. He and Evelyn, who are together again, raise Evelyn’s little boy, who they name Danny. They live on a small farm in Tennessee where they are shown visiting Danny’s grave. Rafe then takes his son flying, and the two fly off into the sunset in his old biplane.

I have always been interested in WWII, but Pearl Harbor has always been one of my main focuses. I first saw Pearl Harbor a few years ago and recently I decided I wanted to watch it again. Throughout the whole movie I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I absolutely love it.  In my opinion it is really a movie for anyone. Not only does it have a lot of high action, it also has a romantic side for any love story fanatic.

The special effects are truly amazing. It looks exactly like what you would see if you were experiencing it. At times they would have shots of a bird’s eye view so you could really see all the destruction that the Japanese were causing. The gun shots and the bombs going off sounded like they were happening in my own back yard. It was actually kinda scary.

The worst part for me was when Danny died. It looked like him and Rafe were both going to come back from their mission with Doolittle, but sadly only one of them made it home. Something that does make his death easier to handle is the fact that Evelyn names her son Danny. I find that to be very sweet. She will always have a part of Danny with her. The thing that always makes me tear up is when they show Rafe flying with little Danny in the airplane at the end of the movie. To me, that is one of the ultimate signs of love.

The song by Faith Hill called, “There You’ll Be”, plays at the end of the movie during the credits. It is one of the most powerful songs in the entire movie. The song mainly talks about losing someone but always knowing that they are going to be in your heart. In my opinion this is how Evelyn feels by the end of the movie. Even though she lost Danny, she knows that she can always think about him and that he will always be in her heart. The same goes with Rafe. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose someone like Rafe and Evelyn did. I don’t ever want to know what it’s like. To know that hundreds of Americans lost someone they really cared about that day is terrible. Sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, and nephews were all lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Everyone who perished that day will forever be remembered as heroes.

“Victory belongs to those who believe in it the most and believe in it the longest. We’re gonna believe. We’re gonna make America believe too.”

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On the night on December 6th, 1941, Rafe unexpectedly returns to Pearl Harbor. He finds Evelyn and tells her that after his plane crashed, he floated on a piece of wreckage until he was picked up by a French fishing boat and brought to Occupied France. After many months he was able to make it back to America and was given permission to go to Pearl Harbor, where he thought his girlfriend and best friend were. He soon learns that Danny and Evelyn are now together, and feeling hurt and betrayed, the two friends soon get into a fight at the local hula bar. The next morning they wake up in Danny’s car in a field by the beach to the sound of planes. They soon learn that Sunday December 7th, 1941 will be a day they will never forget.

Back at Pearl Harbor the Japanese have proceeded to bomb many of the battleships and boats. The surprise air raid sinks the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and many other smaller boats. Back at the hospital, Evelyn is desperately trying to help any of the wounded that she can. After awhile they are ordered to bring in patients that can be saved. Meanwhile, Rafe and Danny are the only two who can manage to get airborne and shoot down seven Japanese aircraft with their reckless tactics, including an old game of theirs called chicken.  The two men then go to the hospital, where Evelyn asks them to give blood for hundreds of injured soldiers, and later aid in attempting to rescue the countess men still in the harbor.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Almost half of the casualties that occurred at Pearl Harbor were on the naval battleship USS Arizona. There were 37 confirmed pairs or trios of brothers assigned to the USS Arizona on December 7th, 1941. Of these 77 men, 62 were killed, and 23 sets of brothers were lost that day. All 21 members of the Arizona’s band were killed. At no other time in American history has an entire military band been killed in action.

On December 6th, 1941, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel (nearly 1.5 gallons) in preparation for a trip to the mainland later that month. Despite the raging fire and long amount of time that has passed, around 500,000 gallons of oil are still slowly seeping from the ship’s wreckage. Nearly 70 years later after it sunk, the USS Arizona continues to spill up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each day. Many scientists believe that the leakage of the oil could cause devastating damage to the waters and the shoreline around Hawaii. Government agencies are reluctant to perform extensive repairs due to the fact that the USS Arizona is a war grave. In fact, the oil that often coats the surface of the water that surrounds the ship has added an emotional gravity for many who visit the underwater memorial. The oil is sometimes referred to as “Tears of the Arizona” or “Black Tears”. The USS Arizona remains the greatest warship loss in American history.

“Every night I watch the sunset and soak up every last ray of its warmth, and send it from my heart to yours.”

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In early 1923, two best friends from Tennessee, Danny Walker and Rafe McCawley, pretending to fight the Germans, climb into Rafe’s father’s crop dusting plane and accidentally start it, giving them their first taste of flying. Soon after, Danny’s father comes to drag him home and accuses him of playing with Rafe, whom he considers a bag example. Rafe soon attacks Danny’s father and calls him a “dirty German”. Danny’s father replies by explaining that he fought the Germans in WWI and wishes that they never witness the horrors of war.

By January 1941, Rafe and Danny are still best friends. Before they can follow their dreams of becoming pilots in the army, the two friends must undergo a physical examination. When Rafe messes up on his eye exam due to dyslexia, he begs his nurse, Evelyn, to pass him because all he has ever wanted to be is a pilot. They are both First Lieutenants in the United States Army Air Corps under the command of Major Jimmy Doolittle. Soon after, Rafe and Evelyn begin a relationship. After awhile Rafe tells Evelyn the night before he has to leave, that he has volunteered to join the Royal Air Force’s Eagle Squadron. While they are saying goodbye Rafe asks her to not come to the train station the next morning because he can’t stand to say goodbye to her again. The next day, Rafe and Danny say goodbye. At first it seems that Evelyn won’t come, but as Rafe takes his seat on the train, he sees her through the window, and says to a man across the aisle that he knows she loves him. Evelyn and Danny are soon transferred with their respective squadrons to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, while Rafe is over in Britain. When Rafe is fighting in The Battle of Britain over the English Channel, his plane is shot down. His plane crashes into the Channel and he is presumed to have been killed in action. Danny receives a letter telling him that Rafe has been killed and he knows it is his duty to tell Evelyn. Three months later, Danny and Evelyn bond over their mourning of Rafe and unexpectedly develop feelings for each other. They soon begin their own relationship.

TO BE CONTINUED…

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Emperor of Japan. This attack forever changed the lives of many Americans. At about 8:00 a.m., Japanese planes filled the sky over Pearl Harbor. Bombs and bullets rained down onto the vessels docked below. At approximately 8:10 a.m., a 1,800-pound bomb smashed through the deck of the battleship USS Arizona and landed in her forward ammunition magazine. The ship exploded and in nine minutes sank with more than 1,000 men trapped inside. Next, torpedoes pierced the shell of the battleship USS Oklahoma. With 400 sailors aboard, the ship lost her balance, rolled onto her side, and slipped beneath the surface of the water. By the time the attack was over, every battleship in Pearl Harbor has sustained serious damage. All of the ships were able to be repaired except for the USS Arizona and the USS Utah.

The assault, which involved 350 planes, came in two major waves. In the first wave, torpedo planes targeted the docked Pacific Fleet. The air torpedos that the Japanese used were equipped with rudders that allowed them to operate in the shallow water of the harbor. The second wave consisted of dive-bombers and “Zeroes”, which were probably the best fighter aircraft used in WWII.

In all, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor damaged or destroyed 18 American ships and almost 300 airplanes. Dry docks and airfields were also destroyed. Most important, almost 2,500 men were killed and another 1,000 were wounded.