As I mentioned yesterday, the highlight of my recent trip to New Orleans was my visit (with my son Jack) to the greatly expanded World War II Museum. I have visited the museum repeatedly since it was first opened. As someone who continues to study and write on military history, this museum has been a joy to watch expand and improve through the years. It is now the greatest military museum for the greatest generation. It is easily on par with the great museums of Europe like Musée de l’Armée at the Les Invalides in Paris. It should be a point of pride for all Americans in its expanding and unique collection of artifacts and weaponry from World War II. Moreover, it is expanding even further and is now composed of multiple buildings and soon will be joined by The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center along with the massive Bollinger Canopy of Peace that will cover all of the buildings. The result will certainly be a truly unparalleled facility committed to military history. Continue reading “THE GREATEST MUSEUM FOR THE GREATEST GENERATION: A TRIP TO THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM”
I recently visited New Orleans for a speech during the celebration of its 300th anniversary. It coincides with the French Quarter festival and my son Jack and I had an absolute ball. I lived in New Orleans when I taught at Tulane Law School (after clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit). I still have tremendous love for this unique city and its wonderful people. Unfortunately, due to events in Washington, I have been delayed in posting some of the pictures. Tomorrow I will be posting the pictures from my visit to the greatly expanded World War II Museum. As discussed below, my only negative review is the Royal House restaurant, which was truly abysmal.
I am in New Orleans this week to speak at the Academy of American Appellate Lawyers (on Saturday) and celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of this great city. I lived in this wonderful when I taught at Tulane Law School. It is always a joy to be back but particularly fun on this historical anniversary with my son, Jack, with me to enjoy the food and culture.
I am in my hometown of Chicago this weekend — still recovering from the loss of our Cubs to the Dodgers (who cheated by hitting the balls outside of Wrigley where our players could not catch them and throwing the balls really, really fast so we could not hit them). Returning home for me continues to be rejuvenating, particularly with this unseasonably warm weather. I wanted to share a few pictures of our beautiful city to counter the dire descriptions that have been raised in the political forum. Chicago is experiencing a terrible violent crime wave, but the city is not the hellscape that comes out of some political exchanges. I will readily admit that I am biased. I have always been proud to be a Chicagoan and raised in this resilient city. I hope that people will come for themselves to experience the wonderful lakeshore, restaurants, bars, museums, architecture, boating, sports, and sights.
I am leaving Spokane, Washington this morning after a glorious time exploring the woods of the Pacific Northwest. After coming out for a speech to judges and lawyers in this district, I was able to get in three days of hiking. Spokane is one of those cities that is a dream for hikers. In literally just 20 minutes, you can find yourself in the hills and mountains of Washington.
My trip to the islands over the last two weeks included a major bonus for me in addition to the military history, hiking, great foods, and great friends. The visit to Hawaii means that I have now visited all 50 states. Indeed, I have now hit most of the territories with the exception of American Samoa (which is long over due for a constitutional lecture).
Day 12 is my final day on Oahu and my departure to the states. I spent the hours before my flight in a mad search for gifts. It tried last night without success but had more success today. The last roughly two weeks have been an amazing experience in visiting Guam, Saipan, Palau, Tinian, and Hawaii. My greatest hope is that the travel blog might inspire some of our readers to travel this far into the Pacific. It is worth it. Trust me.
Day 11 was my hiking day in Hawaii. In the morning, I did one of Hawaii’s famous waterfall hikes followed by a second hike to a crater. I then climbed Diamondhead overlooking Honolulu. I ended the long day by going swimming at Waikiki. I did not wait for changing into a swimsuit. After the three hikes, I was dying to go into the warm green waters and dove in as soon as I made it back. It was great to float in the surf as the sun went down over Waikiki. After cleaning up, I then went back to Waikiki to watch the evening fireworks. They were awesome. You can just lie on the beach and they fire off truly impressive fireworks from a small lagoon. I loved it. It was a great way to spend my final night on the island.
Day 10 was spent immersed in my passion for military history at one of the world’s most historic sites: Pearl Harbor. After arriving the night before, I set out for Pearl Harbor by public bus. The public buses on Oahu are wonderful. The Hawaiian bus drivers are incredibly nice and helpful. Just tell them where you need to go and they are full of suggestions and will often call out to you to make a transfer. I have been taking buses all day and found everyone of the drivers to be hugely helpful and kind. Trips cost only $2.50 and you get to see more of the island (including areas with large numbers of homeless people).
Due to the lack of internet access during the trip, I was not able to post Tinian pictures of our exciting day exploring the runaway for the Enola Gay, the historical site of the Taga Latte stones, and the wonderful feast on the beach with the mayor and others from this island.
Day 9 was spent back on Guam. After a brutal 2 am flight (flights from Palau take off at ungodly hours to make connections), I made it to Guam and was reunited with my brilliant young hostess, Karen Quitlong, who had already planned a hiking trip to the Spanish Steps, a famous snorkeling area on the island. While the steps were turned out to be closed that day, the backup plan proved incredible.
My eighth day was spent enjoying the unique islands of Palau. I have heard my whole life how pristine and gorgeous these islands are, but nothing prepared me for encountering the lush jungle, turquoise blue waters, and rock islands. After torrential rains on the first day on Palau, the skies suddenly cleared in the morning and a perfect blue day emerged. With the help of our hosts, Judge Watford, his wife, and I went on a snorkeling trip that offered multiple stops in the rock islands. We then finished the day at a remarkably good Indian restaurant with Chief Justice Arthur Ngiraklsong.
My seventh day was sent on Palau, a true island paradise. The first day was spent in three lectures to the Palau bar with Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford. The day was a good time to be indoors. A tropical storm moved in with torrential rain.
The sixth day was just about as exciting as it can get. Our hosts in Saipan knew of my love for military history and Chief Justice Alexandro Castro said that he would be happy to take my to Tinian on his fishing boat. With Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford and his wife joined us, it became quite an adventure after he hit unpredictably rough seas in the small boat. It only added to the exciting day, however, as we visited one of the truly most unique places on Earth.
My fifth day was spent giving three lectures to the bar of Saipan. It was a fascinating day with the judges and lawyers of this beautiful island. Tomorrow Judge Watford and I will be going to Tinian Island where the B-29s took off to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These islands are steeped in the military history of World War II. Having read about the battles for years, it is amazing to be here and walk along the beaches of the invasions. Saipan was also the scene of one of the most horrific moments of the Pacific war when 1,000 Japanese civilians committed suicide by jumping off the cliffs on the Northern part of the island. They believed the propaganda about the Americans and took their lives rather than be captured. It is hard to imagine such horror on an island that is indescribably beautiful and peaceful.