Pearl Harbour, Oahu
As we arrived to the Arizona Memorial on the ferry operated by the US Navy, it got very quite except for the crackle from the speaker on the boat. When we entered the memorial the realization that directly beneath us were the bodies of someone's children - navy men that died when the Japanese bombed this ship, was sobering.
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!
Pearl Harbor lays host to the Arizona Memorial to commemorate the sunken battleship and pay homage to those burried beneath the water. When visitors arrive they are given a ticket indicating their time to begin the tour. While waiting there is a gift shop and outdoor memorial with names of those killed in the war. The journey begins with a brief show giving a history of the war. Afterwards you are taken to the USS Arizona Memorial by boat. The memorial is designed to encourage quiet contemplation, and to appeal to our memory and sense of sacrifice. Broken pieces of dishware can be seen on the deck of the ship under the water. The amazing thing is you can still see drops of oil from the ship rising to the surface and producing rainbow streaks in the water
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.
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.
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 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.
We went to Pearl Harbor but we went with a tour group. The advantage is our tickets were purchased in advance. We already had our boarding time and the tour guide got us to Pearl Harbor 1 hour in advance. NO WAITING!!! We had time to look around before and after our visit to the Memorial Center. Just a suggestion!
You should definitely check out "Hawaii Army Museum" because it's so near Waikiki, actually in Waikiki.
http://www.hiarmymuseumsoc.org/. It's in the middle of Waikiki so if you stay in or near Waikiki you can easily walk over to the museum.
Military/history buffs should put these on their list when visiting Oahu: USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin (tour of an actual WW2 submarine), USS Missouri (tour of actual WW2 US Navy battleship), and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
This web page http://www.ussmissouri.org/visitor-information#directions shows that you can visit Battleship Missouri - Pacific Aviation Museum - and USS Bowfin with a combo ticket ($37 adult, $17 child). The same web page says it takes about 5 hrs to visit these 3: Battleship Missouri - Pacific Aviation Museum - and USS Bowfin.
USS Arizona Memorial:
Special note about USS Arizona Memorial & USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center (they are physically separated!):
The only tricky thing is you need to pick up a numbered ticket at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center for the boat ride to the actual USS Arizona Memorial. So you will need to go to USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center early in the morning to get a numbered ticket. I believe all the tickets are gone by mid morning. If you're lucky with your boat departure time, you can safely walk over to visit Bowfin Museum and the USS Bowfin Submarine without worrying about missing the boat ride to the actual USS Arizona Memorial.
Pacific Aviation Museum:
Got this from http://gohawaii.about.com/od/pearlharbor/fr/PAM_PearlHarbor.htm
In order to visit the Pacific Aviation Museum, you must park at the Arizona Memorial parking lot, purchase a ticket at the nearby USS Bowfin ticket office and then board the Ford Island Trolley at the Trolley stop in front of the USS Bowfin Memorial. Since the museum is on an active Military Base security procedures are in effect. NO BAGS are allowed on the Trolley. You may bring a camera, but no bags whatsoever.
So I'd do this,
**Check out website of the 4 destinations first
1. go EARLY to the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center for the tickets.
2. You can walk over to the USS Bowfin boat and museum (switch with #3 depending on when your boat ride is)
3. take the boat ride to the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center and back. (switch with #2 depending on when your boat ride is)
4. Take the shuttle from the USS Bowfin Museum to the USS Missouri. Touring the ship requires going up and down some ladders I assume so I'd do this before last stop). I don't know if you can walk from USS Missouri to the Pacific Aviation Museum. You should call the museum to find out.
5. The Pacific Aviation Museum.
You should check their websites for opening/closing times before finalizing the plan. There are shuttles to/from the Museums from the Waikiki hotels. Check with the hotels for shuttle time.
Coming from the UK the words Pearl Harbour have maybe slightly less significance that to people from the USA. That said the image of what happened on that day in 1941 is of World significance.
On a visit to Oahu in transit to the other islands it seemed an interesting place to visit for half a day or so.
I was extremely impressed by the organisation at the USS Arizona Memorial. There was total respect for what is in essence a mass war grave. I am sure the many relatives of those who perished will be proud of the respect and reverence in which the whole visitor experience is handled.
Boats carry visitors from the shore to the actual Memorial which is built over the site of the wreck. Inside is an entire wall listing all the names of the 1177 men who lost their lives. Most touching of all was a small stone where sailors who have since died and have chosen to to be buried with their fallen comrades are commemorated.
I came away a wiser person and somewhat humbled.
How often do you get a chance to go on to a vintage Iowa-class WWII battleship?
WWII came to an end officially with Japan surrendering on the Missouri (Sept. 2, 1945) after the
dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasazaki (Aug. 9, 1945).
For the history of the USS Missouri and for pictures of the Missouri in action during WWII, the Korean War, and the 1st Gulf War go here:
During our visit to Pearl Harbour we explore the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum. This museum is dedicated to submarine both past and present. My wife and I enjoyed walking through the exhibit and viewing the various artifacts such as sub weapon systems, photos, paintings, battleflags, recruitment posters and models of subs. The highlight of this museum for me was the Poseidon C-3 missile on display.
During our visit to Pear Harbour and the Bowfin in particular we came upon the Submarine Memorial. This memorial honors the 52 American submarines and the more than 3,500 submariners lost during WWII.
That's a historical and very interesting trip around the harbor attacked by Japan and main reason for the US entrancy into the war. Here you can feel everything about the 2nd World War enveiroment and how horrible the attack it was for americans and how it changed the whole course of the war.
In my opinion it's something too much nacionalistic, I mean everything mentioning about how surprised the americans were gotten by japanese forces and how brave the american forces were trying to resist as much as they could. You can see the Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri and other museums.
2403 people were killed in the attack that took only 2 hours to destroy the whole harbor.
The Arizona Memorial is a somber reminder of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Battleship Arizona was sunk during the attack and almost 2400 people were lost as a result.
The Tour starts with a short film followed by a boat ride to the memorial. The Memorial is built over the wreckage of the Arizona and it's still leaking oil to this day. The Wreck is a tomb and should be treated with utmost respect.
When visiting you may see a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack. These people will give you a first hand account of what they experienced on December 7th, 1941. One of the guides mentioned to us that most Japanese visitors will watch the film but not take the boat to the tomb out of respect for the soldiers and regret for what their military did on that morning.