A Personal Connection

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Four years ago while on a family vacation to Hawaii, Andrew Reue and his family made their first visit to the Arizona Memorial.

At the time it was a powerful experience, making the solemn trip to the site where so many young men were lost.  

 But two years later, he learned that his family had a far more direct connection to the events of December 7, 1941, a connection that made the opportunity to return to the Arizona Memorial on Monday with his Rice teammates a much more personally moving experience.

Reue's grandfather, Walden Miller, had been at Pearl Harbor that fateful day, and had manned one of the many vessels that dodged flames and debris to pull as many injured sailors from the waters in the aftermath of the sneak attack.

"My grandfather actually never told us he had been at Pearl Harbor," Reue explained. "Whenever we'd ask him about his experiences in the Navy, he never tell us about where he was stationed, or things like that.  It wasn't until he was really sick, that his daughter was talking about it with my mom and we learned that he was stationed here as an electrician on a smaller ship when the Japanese attacked."

Miller was assigned to one of the smaller ships in the harbor that day, one that was spared the onslaught of the attacking Japanese planes.  He saw the destruction of the Pacific Fleet's battleships and was powerless to do anything other than to join in the rescue efforts.

Whatever he witnessed that day, he chose to keep to himself and spare his family any of the details of that horrific morning.

"I had the opportunity to come four years ago and that was an awesome experience," Reue said. "When you are on the memorial you can feel a presence there.  It's very sobering, just remembering everyone who had died. But that was before we knew my grandfather had been here.  Now that I know that, it has even more impact. "

Nearly 70 years later, and four years removed from his first visit to the final resting place of the Arizona, Reue faced the reality that he and his teammates were perhaps even older than many of the servicemen who saw their lives cut short that day as well as many such as his grandfather who were thrust into a Word War.

It puts a different perspective on the challenges that await on Christmas Eve when the Owls face Fresno State.

"I am very thankful for what he has done and everyone in the military has done to make sure we have opportunities us to do things like come to beautiful Hawai'i and play in a football game," he stated. 

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