American teachers get an epic history lesson

Alfred Rodrigues
Alfred Rodrigues
John Davidek
John Davidek

By Leland Kim - bio | email

FORT SHAFTER (KHNL) -  Some teachers from the mainland got a valuable history lesson, right here in Hawaii.  They're in town for a workshop, to learn from Pearl Harbor survivors.

It's known as the "day which will live in infamy."  The attack on Pearl Harbor killed almost 2,400 military members and wounded another 1,100, including Kaua'i native Alfred Rodrigues.

"It was scary, and it's a thing we can't forget," said the retired U.S. Navy sailor.

He was just 21 when it happened.

"They just got to remember of what happened that day," said Rodrigues.

To help remember what happened that day, Rodrigues and other Pearl Harbor survivors share their experiences with teachers from the mainland and Japan.

"I think it's really, really important to get their personal perspective and to learn their personal accounts," said John Davidek, a world history and society teacher from Flint, Michigan.

And that firsthand account from these survivors mean a more comprehensive lesson in history for his students.

"Every moment that I've had a chance to, and my colleagues too, extremely valuable to be able to spend just spend a few moments with them," said Davidek.

And after all these years, these Pearl Harbor survivors are at peace with what happened.

"That we survived and we're getting along with each other, and we hope it continues," said Rodrigues.

He also hopes the current generation learns about the heavy price of war before it's too late.

"Well, I think what we got to do is, respect and love each other more," said Rodrigues.  "That's the only way we can get along in this world."

This week-long event is designed to improve understanding of what happened at Pearl Harbor, while strengthening ties between the East and the West.  The workshop ends on Saturday.