Pearl Harbor Memorial: Paying a Tribute to America’s History| May 30, 2010
The Pearl Harbor Memorial elicits a strange combination of sadness and reflection that is not quite like that found in any other historical location on the planet. Perhaps it’s just the fact that this memorial marks the moment in history, which prompted the United States to join World War II that makes it so poignant. Perhaps it’s the 1,102 sailors whose bodies lie permanently entombed in the bay, but either way, the Pearl Harbor Memorial is a stop not to be missed on any journey to the Hawaiian Islands.
What happened at Pearl Harbor?
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese imperial navy forces commenced an unannounced attack on the U.S. naval compound based out of Pearl Harbor. The attack consisted of two waves of aircraft off from six Japanese battleships, which were stationed nearby. Along with cruisers, destroyers and U.S. aircraft, the Japanese sunk four battleships, two of which were raised later to be put back into use. One of these ships was the USS Arizona, which is perhaps the most notorious part of the Pearl Harbor Memorial site, thanks to the 1,177 sailors killed on board.
How do I tour the Pearl Harbor Memorial?
Depending on which part of the memorial you’d like to see, tours can be self-guided and free (which only allows you to visit the USS Arizona) or they can involve comprehensive tours of the entire battle site, complete with guided, interpretive tours to help you understand the brevity of the story in its entirety.
One of these special VIP tours of Pearl Harbor includes a guided walk through the USS Missouri. On this tour, you can relive the moment that General Douglas MacArthur signed the treaty with Japan, which officially ended WWII. You also get tours of Wheeler Army Airfield (the complete site of attack), Schofield Army Barracks (the largest army base off the continental U.S., and Fort Shafter which is the oldest military base on Oahu.
Pearl Harbor Memorial offers a trip through history that you’ll never forget – as well as a newfound appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the ideals we still hold today.