Visiting Pearl Harbor: WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
Take a Trip to Pearl Harbor and Remember our Fallen Soldiers
Taking a family trip to Hawaii can be quite exciting! Planning your beach days and planning tours on an island or two can be tons of fun. One tour and “must-see” stop is Pearl Harbor: WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Pearl City on Oahu, Hawaii.
When visiting Pearl Harbor, you’ll experience World War II in the Pacific coming to life on a day of sad drama and history. During your visit, you’ll experience critical moments from the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu that pushed the U.S. into World War II.
I had the opportunity to take the family to Pearl Harbor over Spring Break, and it was quite the experience. We began our tour arriving at 10:00 a.m. and took some time reading the memorial plaques, viewing the USS Bowfin, staring off into the bay where it all went down and then watching a short film in the theater on what actually happened the morning of December 7, 1941. Both educational for us adults and kids, the movie took us to a day of surprise, sadness, and devastation.
The USS Arizona Memorial is where you’ll learn about the 1,177 seamen who perished when the Japanese surprise attack sunk their battleship. After viewing the anchor and watching the film, we rode a Navy vessel to the Memorial. At the Memorial, names, and ranks of the lost heroes are etched in marble in the Shrine Room and in the harbor, you might see oil droplets – “The Black Tears of the Arizona” – that continue to rise from the sunken battleship after almost 80 years.
The USS Missouri – the “Mighty Mo” is located next to the memorial and is available for touring. During our tour, we were able to stand on the deck where the Japanese surrendered while the ship was docked in Tokyo Bay, Japan on September 2, 1945. We also viewed the living area of the soldiers and learned about the dent caused by the crashing Kamikaze pilot. Our tour guide also taught us about the battleship’s five decades of service.
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is also available for tours. Known as the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” the Bowfin launched December 7, 1942, one year after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Bowfin completed nine successful patrols during WWII, contributing to the Allies’ victory over Japan.
When our Pearl Harbor tour was over, our tour guide drove through Historic Downtown Honolulu and shared stories about Hawaii’s royal family while pointing out famous landmarks associated with the kingdom’s former rulers, Kawaiahao Church, and the statue of King Kamehameha the Great who united the Hawaiian Islands.
This altogether was the complete Pearl Harbor Experience and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Visiting Pearl Harbor is highly recommended, and I invite you to immerse yourself in Oahu’s top attraction.
Have you been? Did you enjoy it as much as we did? Please share your story and the favorite part of your tour in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!