Pearl Harbour, Oahu
Pearl Harbor is a memorial that is built on top of a sunken ship USS Arizona where thousands of US servicemen lost their lives during an unexpected attack. Access to this memorial is free as the US Navy shuttle boats take you to the memorial from the visitor center. Before you board the shuttle, you should take the time to view a short documentary on Pearl Harbor at the theatre in the visitor center. The film usually runs for around 15-20 minutes and gives you a perspective of what went on during that fateful day. You would find many a wet eye at the end of this short film as it is indeed heart wrenching.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Where WWII Ended with the Surrrender of the Japanese Forces. With over six decades of life at sea and 60,000 tons to explore, the Battleship Missouri Memorial is an interactive educational and inspirational monument.
Arizona Memorial Museum Association
A non-profit association cooperating with the National Park Service, the Association operates a bookstore at the USS Arizona Memorial that provides visitors with educational material about the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II in the Pacific.
If you have any interest in history whatsoever, you must make a trek over to Pearl Harbour. To experience this place makes you realize the magnitude of its historical significance. Here I am with the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in the background.
The USS Missouri (often called the "Mighty Mo") is a huge naval battleship that survived the 1941 bombing at Pearl Harbor. It was repaired after that attack and sent back to sea. Ultimately, the deck of the USS Missouri was the site of the Japanese surrender that marked the end of World War II. The USS Missouri continued to set sail long after that war. It served in the Korean War and wasn't permanently retired until after the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1992.
The battleship is now open for tours. You can buy tickets for the tours at the building right next door to the USS Arizona Memorial. General admission is $16 for adults, $8 for children. You can also take a variety of guided tours which wil provide you with more in-depth history of the Missouri.
One of the most popular sights on the Mighty Mo is the veranda deck where General Douglas MacArthur and Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, along with other American and Allied officers, accepted the surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II. There is a plaque on the deck signifiying the exact spot where the surrender occured. The original surrender documents are also located here, placed under glass for all to see.
The USS Missouri is a massive battleship. It is very interesting seeing the gun decks, the rather lavish Captain's Quarters, the huge kitchen and dining areas and all the little nooks and crannies of the boat. Seeing the Mighty Mo is quite an experience and I highly recommend it to all those visiting Oahu.
On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the American battleships anchored in the harbor at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The result was catastrophic: Twenty-one ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged. 2,403 Americans were killed. The battleship USS Arizona was destroyed and sunk that morning. Almost all the men on board were killed. The USS Arizona Memorial is a tribute to their memory and a must-see when you visit Oahu.
When you enter the memorial building, you are given a numbered ticket. The ticket guarantees your entrance to the film and then the boat ride to the USS Arizona. You will want to arrive early in the day to make sure you get a ticket. They often run out quickly, especially in the summer.
While you wait for the film, walk through the museum that details the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There is also a large gift shop. Eventually, you'll go into the theatre where the film is shown. Then, you are put onto a boat and taken to the memorial in the harbor. The memorial is located over the remains of the sunken ship. As you look over the edge, you can see the rusting remains of the USS Arizona. Oil is still bubbling up from the sunken ship, more than 60 years after it went down. There is a large memorial wall listing the names of all those who died on the USS Arizona. It's a very powerful and emotional place.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot take bags into the memorial. They will not even allow you to bring a small purse or camera bag. You can take nothing but what will fit in your pockets. There are a few small lockers available on a truck outside the memorial, but it's really best not to bring anything with you at all.
On December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona, while moored here in Pearl Harbor, was bombed in a Japanese air raid. The 608-foot battleship sank in 9 minutes without firing a shot, taking 1,177 sailors and Marines to their deaths--and catapulting the United States into World War II.
Nobody who visits the memorial will ever forget it. The deck of the ship lies 6 feet below the surface of the sea. Oil still oozes slowly up from the Arizona's engine room to stain the harbor's calm, blue water; some say the ship still weeps for its lost crew. The memorial is a stark white 184-foot rectangle that spans the sunken hull of the ship; it was designed by Alfred Pries, a German architect interned on Sand Island during the war. It contains the ship's bell, recovered from the wreckage, and a shrine room with the names of the dead carved in stone.
Today, free U.S. Navy launches take visitors to the Arizona. Try to arrive early at the visitor center (no later than 1:30pm), operated jointly by the National Park Service and the U.S. Navy, to avoid the huge crowds; waits of 1 to 3 hours are common, and they don't take reservations. While you're waiting for the shuttle to take you out to the ship--you'll be issued a number and time of departure, which you must pick up yourself--you can explore the interesting museum's personal mementos, photographs, and historic documents. A moving 20-minute film precedes your trip to the ship. Allow a total of at least 4 hours for your visit.
Parents, note that baby strollers, baby carriages, and baby backpacks are not allowed in the theater, on the boat, or on the USS Arizona Memorial. All babies must be carried.
One last note: Most unfortunately, the USS Arizona Memorial is a high-theft area--leave your valuables at the hotel.
The USS Arizona Memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona and the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen that were killed on December 7, 1941 when the ship was bombed by the Japanese Naval Forces. This has been the worst naval disaster in American History.
There is a shoreside visitor centre where the tour begins with a video, then you board a navy launch to the memorial.
You need to allow at least a couple of hours. The first time I went out there, I took the bus. The second time I went by boat and the seas were really rough. I don't think there was a single settled tummy on the way back.
Over 1500 vendors set up tables at Aloha Stadium on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. At the market you can not only get great deals on t-shirts but it is the best place to do all souvenir shopping for the best prices.
There is a shuttle bus you can take from Waikiki for $5 or the city bus will get you there for $1 but the ride is a lot longer. Market hours are 7am to 3pm.
The ride out to the Memorial takes only a few minutes. Visitors are allowed to stay at the Memorial for 15 to 20 minutes and must take the next shuttle back to the Visitors’ Center. The Memorial is a beautiful and solemn place that allows you to look down on the wreckage and reflect on the experience.
Listed on the walls of the Memorial are the names of all who perished on the Arizona as well as the 58 who died on the Utah. Visitors are permitted to toss flowers and leis onto the wreckage.
Pearl Harbor is still an active Navy base and is the headquarters for the United States Pacific Fleet. When ever a Navy ship passes the Arizona Memorial, the crew members come on deck and observe a moment of silence.
The Arizona remains at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. Parts of its gun turrets still rise above the water line and the top of the ship is only a few feet below the water’s surface.
From time to time, small amounts of oil continue to leak from the Arizona’s engines, and the oil slick forms a small rainbow on the water’s surface.
All of these things are visible from the memorial built on the top of the Arizona’s final resting place in the middle of Pearl Harbor.
The U.S. National Park Service, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy, runs shuttle boats from the Visitors’ Center out to the Memorial. Prior to going out into the harbor, you first see a 20 minute film telling the story of Pearl Harbor and the Arizona. The program includes actual film footage of the fatal blow that sank the ship.
Apparently, a Japanese armor piercing shell passed through several decks before it exploded in the Arizona’s ammunition storage area. This explosion ignited a flash fire that spread throughout the ship, instantly killing hundreds of men. This fire was the cause of death of most of the service men who perished.
On December 7, 1941, one of the most important military battles in world history took place when a massive force of Japanese bombers, fighter planes, and torpedo planes attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor. Over 2,300 Americans lost their lives in this devastating battle, which prompted the American entrance into World War II.
More than eleven hundred of these lives were lost when a Japanese shell scored a direct hit on the USS Arizona, a battleship anchored in Pearl Harbor. The ship sank almost immediately, with the casualties entombed aboard. It was soon decided that the Arizona would be left were she fell and that it would be preserved as a memorial to the men who died when she sank.
This is the place it started for the US in WWII. It is humbling to be on the memorial and gaze into the water at the sunken battleship. Oil still leaks from within, and is easily visible on the surface.
The center and USS Arizona Memorial are free of charge to the public and there are no reservations. Surely another reason to go, as most everything tourists do in Hawaii costs plenty. Everyone visiting the USS Arizona is encouraged to view a 20 minute film documenting the attack on Pearl Harbor. The film is presented by the Park Service, prior to the short U.S. Navy shuttle boat trip to the memorial itself. Be prepared to wait however. The memorial is a very popular site in Honolulu and the crowds at all hours of the day can be overwhelming. Visitors are issued free tickets for the film and the shuttle to the Arizona upon arrival at the center on a first come, first served basis, but waits of one hour or more are commonplace. For this reason, go early!
Part of our tour of the USS Missouri brought us to the site of the Japanese surrender during WWII on September 2, 1945. A plaque in the floor commemorates the exact site of the surrender.