Hawaii December 06, 2018
Visit These 7 Sites In Hawaii To Immerse Yourself In The History Of Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941: A day that lives in infamy as one of the most tragic attacks on United States soil, and the event that launched our great country into World War II, in both European and Pacific theaters. The Japanese Imperial Navy attacks against U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor, which began at approximately 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time, killed approximately 2,400 Americans and wounded another 1,170. The attacks damaged all eight U.S. Navy battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, and anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer.
Today, approximately 77 years after this tragic attack, Pearl Harbor is one of two main bases for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, as well as a living piece of history, with several museums and memorials open to the public. To immerse yourself in the history of this famous Hawaiian harbor, visit these seven sites — from floating museums to memorials.
1. USS Battleship Missouri
The USS Missouri was the last battleship commissioned by the United States Navy and is a stunning piece of military history. The "Mighty Mo," as it is affectionately referred to, the USS Missouri is an awe-inspiring behemoth of a ship. The ship weighs more than 58,000 tons and measures in at approximately 900 feet from bow to stern, 100 feet wide, and more than 200 feet tall. She was a true force to be reckoned with during her heyday and now stands as a silent guard over Pearl Harbor. Proudly docked in Pearl Harbor, the USS Battleship Missouri resides near the USS Arizona Memorial, the pair marking both the beginning and end of the United States' involvement in the second World War.
2. USS Oklahoma Memorial
On the 66th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 2007, a memorial for the 429 crew members who made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country was dedicated on Ford Island, just outside the entrance to where the USS Battleship Missouri is docked. You see, the USS Oklahoma was moored where the USS Missouri is currently docked when she sunk. Only 35 of the 429 sailors and marines were ever identified in the years following the attack, though effort began in 2015 to identify these brave service members.
3. Pacific Aviation Museum
A world-class aviation museum founded within the walls of the two hangars that survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this historic site is a must visit for military, history, and aviation enthusiasts. Shuttles leave the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center for Ford Island every 15 minutes, and visitors can expect to spend two hours exploring the battle-damaged airfield and control tower, as well as two World War II-era hangars that house an impressive collection of vintage aircraft.
4. USS Arizona Memorial
Approximately 1,177 of the brave sailors and marines that paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor perished aboard the USS Arizona, leaving only 334 surviving servicemembers who were stationed on the ship. Very few bodies were recovered from the attack, and the sunken ship is the final resting place for 1,102 of those who died during the attack. Many survivors — as well as those stationed on the USS Arizona before the attack on Pearl Harbor — have chosen to have their cremated remains scattered over the ship. The USS Arizona was the only ship that fully sank during the attack, and was never recovered — the ship lies at the bottom of the harbor to this day. The memorial is closed for repairs through March 2019.
5. USS Utah Memorial
Constructed in 1972, the USS Utah Memorial consists of a 70-foot walkway made of white concrete, which extends from Ford Island out to a 40 by 15 ft platform in front of the ship, where a brass plaque and a flagpole are located. The wreck lays offshore, is the final resting place for the 64 men who were killed during the attack, and was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 1989. As of 2008, eight former crewmembers who were aboard the ship when it sunk have died and had their ashes interred in the wreck. Relics from the ship, as well as its bell, are on display at both the Utah State Capitol Building and the University of Utah.
6. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Informally known as the Punchbowl Cemetery, the cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a memorial to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces and those who have given their lives doing so. The unidentified remains of nearly 400 servicemembers who died when the USS Oklahoma capsized were recovered when the ship was salvaged and buried here as "unknowns." A lone Pearl Harbor survivor, Ray Emory, has worked to identify the remains of these fellow Sailors and Marines.
7. USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
A Balao-class submarine, the USS Bowfin was commissioned on May 1, 1943. After embarking on nine different patrols throughout the Pacific during World War II — sinking an impressive 44 enemy ships — and nearly three decades of active and inactive service, the USS Bowfin was struck from the United States Navy list on December 1, 1971. The USS Bowfin was taken to Pearl Harbor, and since 1981, the submarine has been open to the public for tours as a floating museum full of naval history. Painstakingly restored to near-perfect condition by an avid crew of preservationists, the USS Bowfin gives visitors a unique glimpse into the history of both the United States Navy and World War II.
For more information about Pearl Harbor’s Historic Sites,
click here. How many of these sites have you visited?
To learn more about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, check out
these rare photographs taken on December 7, 1941.