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EXIT 188n off I-95 to Patrick AFB, Satellite Beach in Brevard County Florida
No doubt it’s good to get where you are going in good time. But sometimes a detour is well worth the circuitous route since you encounter people and things that make a voyage even better. The next exit offers that kind of detour.
As Rick Neale wrote in the magazine Florida Today: “On Dec. 7, 1941, armor-piercing bullets from Japanese Zero fighter aircraft tore holes into the Battleship Arizona at Pearl Harbor. About 15 minutes into the surprise Pearl Harbor attack, a Japanese bomber dropped a specially converted 1,700-pound projectile onto the Arizona — igniting powder magazines and triggering an immense explosion powerful enough to lift the 33,000-ton vessel out of the water.
That day 1,177 sailors and Marines lost their lives aboard the battleship.
Two generations later, those bullet holes remain visible amid rust-red corrosion on a 4-by-5-foot steel section of the doomed warship's superstructure that has arrived on the Space Coast. Brevard Veterans Memorial Center officials publicly unveiled the World War II relic and accompanying museum exhibit during a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony.
Around the grounds and throughout the museum, various decommissioned jets, jeeps, canons and other war mementoes stand testament to the Vets who used them.
Other than sunny skies, a tropical disposition, and this bullet ridden hunk of battleship infrastructure what does the Space Coast of Florida have in common with Pearl Harbor and Honolulu, Hawaii?
Well most relevant was that not far away several veterans from the surprise attack lived out their days as normal senior citizens. No one would identify one of these heroes from the other elderly folks who pass us every day. And even though they experienced the horrors of that day that lives in infamy, they may be said to be the lucky ones. After all, these Vets were there at the beginning of the most destructive war in history and they managed to retire in sunny Florida.
Florida resident Joseph Iscovitz was 103-year-old when he died in 2020. Young Joseph Iscovitz was a supply sergeant that sunny Sunday morning in 1941 in Pearl Harbor. He oversaw a weapons depot.
Speaking to the Associated press on the occasion of his father’s passing, Doug Iscovitz said his father could see the faces of the Japanese pilots as they dropped bombs around the naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1941. His son says they were woefully unprepared for the attack and feared an amphibious assault later that day. He said his father helped string barbed wire along Waikiki Beach in anticipation of the invasion than thankfully never came.
Sergeant Iscovitz also fought in the Korean War. Like so many others, Sergeant Iscovitz was to be laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery outside the nation’s capital. His wife died in 2000 after 56 years of marriage. Joseph Iscovitz is survived by his four sons.
“With all the turmoil going on in our nation, it will be an honor to have my dad buried at Arlington among the many heroes in our nation's history,” his son Doug said.
If you want to see the bullet ridden relic from the Arizona and other museum displays, like Huey Attack Helicopters from Vietnam or even a Marine Harrier Jump Jet or just things brought back by our veterans from their tours of duty, get right to exit off upcoming Exit 188. Since the museum is located in an active Veteran’s Post, aside from museum pieces, no doubt you will meet the real thing —some real heroes. Now that’s worth a little detour isn’t it? After all, it can be said that America’s Veterans made a little detour in life for their fellow Americans. Now did’t they?
That’s right, nice and slow, now get over… and don’t forget your blinker….
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