The Freedom Tower (named in 1985) is an octagonal-shaped water tower on Hickam Air Force Base that was built in 1938. This well-known landmark stands 171 feet high and held 500,000 gallons of water when it was in use. Historians say that the tower survived the Attack on Pearl Harbor unscathed because enemy fighters thought that it was a religious structure and were therefore afraid to fire upon it.
The tower lighting celebration is held every year and is free for anyone on base to attend. The tower is at the far end of a large grass field and people were encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs to sit on. There were a lot of free activities such as photos with Santa, craft stations, bouncy houses, and trampolines. There were many food booths selling snacks and dinner plates, and there was also free hot chocolate and cookies.
A stage was set up at the base of the tower for performers. The Air Force Band of the Pacific played a wide variety of music for a couple of hours. There was a guest performance by young ukulele star, and YouTube sensation, Aidan James.
The grass (or actually the roots of the grass?) are extremely thick making it difficult to walk on and push a stroller on - it was like walking on a thick, cushy mattress. Cameron couldn't walk more than two steps in the grass without falling so we sat on the curb right in front of the stage. This turned out to be a great advantage later!
There was a little mosh pit of children dancing in front of the stage and Cameron loved watching them but didn't join in. She stayed near me, swaying her shoulders to the music until she saw him... her first crush. She cautiously walked over to him, hands clasped behind her back, and smiled shyly. He smiled back and she laughed. She reach out and touched his glowing necklace so he took it off and handed it to her. She laughed, played with it for a minute, and then tried to put it back on him. He put it back on and then she wanted it again so he gave it to her again. This game continued for at least 5 minutes. Finally he had to leave but he let her keep the necklace. He was such a sweet young man to be so patient with a baby :)
Right before the tower was lit, some celebrity guests made an appearance on stage - Emma Stone and Bill Murray! Cameron and I were already by the stage so we had a great view but as you would expect, a tidal wave of people suddenly surged up behind us. I grabbed Cameron in one arm and my big DSLR camera with the other and got swept forward with the crowd. At that point Cameron started screaming from the sudden movement and noise. I didn't dare put her down because I knew she would get trampled so I balanced everything and did the best that I could to quickly snap a few photos before we got out of there.
Filming started at the end of September here in Hawaii for a new still-untitled Cameron Crowe military-comedy-romance movie starring Rachel McAdams, Bradley Cooper, Bill Murray, Emma Stone, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, and John Krasinski.
Synopsis: "The movie sees Bradley star as celebrated military contractor Brian Gilcrest, who reconnects with lost love Tracy (played by McAdams) after returning to the site of his 'greatest career triumphs'. But as with any Hollywood love story, there's another person in the mix - a hard-charging Air Force watchdog (Emma Stone) assigned to Gilcrest, whom he unexpectedly falls for."*
*Read more and see photos of Cooper and McAdams on set here:
Much of the filming is being done here on Hickam Air Force Base and many of my neighbors and friends got parts as extras. I'll see if I can snap a few photos of some of the filming locations to share with you all in another post.
Here is a YouTube video that someone posted of Stone and Murray's little speech:
All in all, the celebration was well worth keeping Cameron out past her bedtime :)
"At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year."