HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nick Calderone is one of the hosts of the KHNL show “Right This Minute.”
He recently connected with a very special part of his family — and country’s history — right here on Oahu.
Nick Calderone had a solemn look as he walked towards the USS Missouri.
His father had served on board the Mighty Mo in World War II. Calderone was about to take a step into his father’s past as he was escorted by members of the USS Missouri Memorial Association.
“To think of where I was at 19, where he was at 19, I imagine he must have been scared first coming aboard this massive ship, but on that moment I believe he had to have pride, you know,” Calderone said.
His father served on board the vessel, working below decks.
Fred Calderone used to tell young Nick stories of the experience, in his own unique style.
“The way he tells it, ‘I don’t know, I just loaded ammunition, ya know, five decks below, I didn’t see a darn thing. I don’t know,’” Nick said, adding that he’s a character.
He also said he had pride in being a saxophone player, and it was his sax playing that put Fred Calderone just steps away from a major moment in history: The ceremonies for the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II.
“To think of all the guys who were on the ship who didn’t get to see that moment, but yet here there he was, front and center because he was part of the ceremony of the whole thing,” Calderone said.
Nick walked up and down the decks, and went below as he walked in his father’s footsteps.
“You talk so much about the heroes of World War II, and they came in so many shapes and sizes, and certainly my dad’s not a hero, but he was part of this giant heroic moment in history. Everybody, from the generals down to all the guys who helped run this ship and in his way, he was a part of it,” Nick said.
At the end of the tour, the personnel from the USS Missouri asked Nick if he would raise the flag on the Mighty Mo. He hesitated, smiled and quietly walked back towards the fantail.
“This may sound weird, but I just didn’t feel worthy," Nick said. “I think that was a moment that was bestowed upon me that I know a lot of other men and women have fought a lot harder to do that. And huge, great gratitude to the people who have worked so hard to do that. But I’m really proud and grateful that the folks here aboard the Missouri let me do that."
It’s a moment Nick will never forget, and a story that he will share with his dad when he gets home.