I discovered that touring a site like this with a very inquisitive three year old presents some unique challenges. While I have no desire to shield my children from reality as they grow up, I felt that explaining something like a world war with any sense of truth and gravity was beyond my capacities and desires at this point. For now, I have chosen to allow Benjamin to maintain the belief that soldiers use ships and airplanes to play games, have contests and challenge the spheres of human ingenuity. We can wait a few years before exposing him to the remaining parts of the truth.
The tour of the Battleship Missouri was pretty amazing. The battleship was the formal site of Japanese surrender to bring an end to World War II, and was most recently in service during Operation Desert Storm. Once on board the ship it is like an open house-- you can look all around the four top levels on your own or with a tour group. Alice and Benji preferred the self-guided option so we could go at our own fast pace and avoid all opportunities for listening to people spew facts and history. We went the route of "experiential learning"-- getting a sense of the battleship by climbing every ladder, testing seats, and touching every button, bunk, phone, knob, hose and restroom fixture in the place. Now that Benji considers battleships to be like enormous floating playgrounds he is pretty set on joining the Navy. It may have been the uniforms and sailor hats that sealed the deal.
|Boarding the Missouri|
|View of the USS Arizona Memorial from the bow of the Battleship Missouri|
|Exploring all parts of the ship. Our motto: leave no porthole untouched.|
|One of many ladders!|
|Alice goes limp in protest when Daddy tells her she must be carried down the ladders|
|Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh!|