Pearl Harbour and especially its WWII plight is so famous that once in Honolulu there is practically no chance of skipping it. The area where the unsalvageable sunken ships were laying was turned into a memorial to the dead, still buried under the wreckage with an option for survivors to join their comrades at time of death. The whole complex includes two more locations one of which is off-limits to non-military-affiliated people. In immediate proximity is the battleship that witnessed the capitulation of Japan and a submarine lucky enough to pass through the whole course of the war unscathed. The sights are mostly across the water so there are boats taking well-organised groups attached to particular hour of departure. The battleship has its visitors delivered by shuttle bus and the submarine is within walking distance from the ticket booth. On the “mainland” side there are numerous museum exhibits coming informative and handy while waiting for the designated boat departure. A visit takes a bit of planning considering that a city bus ride from Waikiki takes at least one hour and a half. The staff members at the ticket booth urge people to come as early as possible and there must be some truth to it since the crowds are substantial and the last boat to the memorial leaves at least an hour before the closure of the complex. In short, this outing is definitely a day-long trip.
At 7:55 a.m. Pacific Time on 7 December 1941, some 360 Japanese war planes descended on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This heinous, pre-emptive attack which took place while peace negotiations were underway in Washington was intended to cripple U.S. naval power in the Pacific and thus allow the Japanese Empire a free hand from Korea to Southeast Asia and throughout the Pacific Ocean. The surprise attack was an unparalleled disaster in American history and was a crushing blow to our Pacific Fleet. Losses included 2,402 servicemen killed, another 1,282 wounded, and the sinking of four battleships, three destroyers, and three cruisers, with many more badly damaged.
While the above paragraph is true, I have recently discovered a written copy of a speech given by US Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz, one of my heroes, shortly after he assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet just days after the attack. It is too long for a VT tip but if anyone would like to read it, send me your email address and I will be glad to send it to you. The basic theme of the talk was to review the strategic mistakes which the Japanese made that actually seriously diminished their chances of victory in World War II. For example, all of the petroleum stored in the Hawaiian Islands on 7 December 1941 was stored ABOVE ground just a very few miles from Pearl Harbor. One Japanese Zero could have destroyed the entire tank farm but it was not even attacked.
When I have stayed overnight in the Honolulu area, I have generally stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel or on Hickam Air Force Base and can testify that the damage on that fateful December morning was not at all limited to Pearl Harbor. There are many buildings on Hickam to this day which still have chinks in their exterior walls which were knocked out by Japanese aircraft fire.
One can spend days in and around Honolulu visiting both official and unofficial monuments to the horrors of that infamous day. Hopefully, visiting just one or two of them will make Americans realize the horrendous sacrifices which our forebears have made so that we might be free.
We are the land of the free because of the brave.
If you get there too early, you will end up waiting in line out front for a long time to buy your tickets to enter. You can take the city "The Bus" there for $2 each way from just about any hotel on the island. That's the cheapest, and most economical way to get there. The audio tour is well worth it, if you are on the fence about deciding to do it. I've been twice, and the audio tour, the second visit, helped enhance my experience all the more. This is truly a must-see for all tourists visiting Oahu. Emotions run wild in so many ways while touring the memorials. I love this place!
We stayed over in Oahu this last trip just to see this memorial. I must admit we got lost our last time here and never did see it, so this time we took a shuttle from the hotel.
A very moving experience!! A fitting memorial for the 1,177 crewmen that lost their lives on the battleship Arizona on December 7th, 1941.
Get there early, as it is first come, first served and only 100 at a time can be admitted to see the video and then exit on the other side to catch the shuttle boat to the memorial itself. We got there at 7:15 and got into group 2 with a 9:00AM entry.
Security is high with no bags, back packs, camera bags - even purses allowed.
The film is about 20 minutes and gives a good recap of what happened that day with actual footage from both the US and Japanese. The shuttle boat is manned by active duty Navy personnel. On the way out to the memorial you get a good view of the battleship Missouri and the white markers built to mark where the other ships were that sunk that day.
Once off the boat and on to the memorial it is like entering a church. Even the kids seemed to realize they were in a special place. A hush fell over our group as we wandered around the airy memorial. You can see the massive ship underwater. A drop of oil floats to the surface every few minutes and the sheen slowly spreads. Some folks brought flowers and wreaths and they were dropped into the water at the open space in the middle of the memorial.
Whoever designed this memorial is to be commended. I was deeply touched and find myself getting misty just trying to put the experience into words.
The memorial at Pearl Harbour is a unique place to visit and pay respect to the men who lost thier Lives there in 1941.
I would advise you to go there early in the day as it can get crowded.
There is a self guided tour of the museum, a short (20mins) film on the events of 1941 and a boat ride out to the Memorial that sits astride the USS Arizona.
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum is a WWII submarine, a museum on land and a park. The tour in a WWII submarine is verry interesting. The park isn't interesting if you don't know what to look for. It's mostly displays of old torpedos. I'd recomend you take the tour inside the bowfin first. Theres an audio-guide at the entrance.
Although you can do it on your own, I recommend going with a tour. An employee of the tour company had already gotten our tickets for us with a time to visit while our driver/guide was picking us all up at our hotels. Apparently they were all sold out of times by 10:40 on the day we were there.
We took tour 2А A Day at Pearl Harbor 6:15 AM 4:45 PM for $99.00 and this included the guide and transportation as well as
• Admission to USS Bowfin Submarine ($10.00 value)
• Admission to Missouri Battleship ($20.00 value)
• Pacific Aviation Museum Admission ($25.00 value)
One of the defining events of the 20th Century was the surprise attack on the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbour, on Dec. 7, 1941. Symbolizing the emotions unleashed by this event are the remnants of the battleship USS Arizona - sunk at its moorings during the air strike. The 31,400 ton Arizona, launched in 1915, sank while at anchor, after receiving several bomb and torpedo hits, resulting in the loss of 1103 men out of its total crew of 1400. To memorialize this event, the ship was declared a national shrine in 1962. A footnote to history - its two main rear turrets, comprising six 14-inch naval guns, were removed after its sinking, to be used for coastal defence of the Islands.
Another footnote: I spent the 60th anniversary of Pearl Harbour walking the length of Manhatten to the site of the still smouldering ruins of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, to say a little prayer for those souls as well.
Wow. Now anyone can board the Battleship USS Missouri. What a huge ship it is, the "Mighty Mo", with her large 16" guns standing guard.
Seeing the inside of a battleship is like visiting a miniature city, with all of the areas of the ship being a smaller version of their land counterparts. Not much room for sleeping, and look out for the low ceiling or the narrow hallways (corridors).
The main attraction of the ship is standing on the actual spot where the war ended between the USA Allied Forces and Japan, with the signing of surrender by the Japanese with Allied Forces on September 2, 1945, in Toyko Bay. Now, the deck is called the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Obviously moving to those that remember, hopefully moving to future generations.
This is where the war with Japan ended in World War 2. This historic ship is a great icon of the American navy. Allow at least an hour to climb all the decks and explore the labyrinth of passages in the middle decks. A plaque marks the place where the articles of surrender was signed by the Japanese.
Pearl Harbor is a must visit, to see the museum and movie about war and the tragedy of one day. After the somber movie, about December 7, 1941, you take a brief shuttleboat ride out to the memorial that covers part of the USS Arizona. This site is one memorial of many throughout the world, dedicated to the fallen. Below the cold stone floor lies the tomb of 1,102 members of the crew. Yes, many die in war, and this precious crew is a reminder of the sadness and cruelty of it all.
Honolulu public buses stop regularly at the Visitor Center and can be boarded in Waikiki. The #20 and #42 bus will take you to the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center. No purses allowed. The most of the visitors got emotional after watch the documentary, before they take you to the memorial. Try to be early.