When visiting Hawaii most people think of lush tropical trees and white sandy beaches. After all, Hawaii is the perfect spot for relaxing and sipping fruity drinks. However, there is one somber tourist spot that should not be missed. It is the memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor was once known only for its ample supply of pearl oysters. No one would have ever dreamed that this harbor would become the reason that the United States entered into World War II. Sadly today it is known only for the infamous attacks that happened December 7, 1941, when wave Japanese planes flew over an attacked an unsuspecting sleeping army. Over 1.5 million people visit the USS Arizona memorial yearly. Tourists of all kinds stop here to remember the lives lost on that fateful morning so long ago.
2335 US soldiers died during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Roughly half of those killed were aboard the USS Arizona. The giant ship was bombed and sank in less than ten minutes trapping over a thousand men on board. Today, the ship lies exactly where it sank and is a giant tomb. The bodies aboard the ship were never recovered. A memorial was erected and floats directly on top of the ship. The ship still leaks oil into the harbor in small amounts that have been said to be black tears.
The mood at the memorial is somber even today over sixty years after the attack. The park does a nice job of filtering the average number of 4500 guests through the memorial daily. Upon arrival to the memorial you are given a ticket and told when your entry to the movie theater will be. The time of year of your visit determines your wait time. During the summer months when crowds are at their highest you may have to wait a couple of hours. But, there is plenty to occupy your time. There is a museum that contains memorabilia such as letters from soldiers to loved ones and uniforms. The museum also has photos of Japanese planes as well as map showing the destruction of the harbor.
There is also a World War II submarine located at the memorial site. The USS Bowfin Museum and Park are worth taking a stroll through. They have kept the submarine intact and you can see pretty much how the men lived in the submarine. You can actually walk through the submarine. Be forewarned, this is not an activity for Closter phobic people, the ship’s quarters are very tight.
Once the wait is over the tour through the memorial runs fairly quickly. They show a movie that lasts about twenty minutes. It shows exactly what happened that early morning in December all those years ago, complete with video footage. Once the movie is over you will take a short boat ride out to the actual memorial. When the ferry arrives, you will walk all the way to the back of the memorial where there is a wall listing the names of all who died that day.