On the 7th December 1941 Japan made a surprise attack on the US Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii, the tragic event which took the lives of many, led to the US entry into WWII. Today the site of the Pearl Harbor attack is one of the most visited attractions on the island and visitors can see a number of memorials and museums dedicated to the Pearl Harbor attack.
When visitors first arrive at the site which is run by the National Park Service they will begin at the Visitor Center where the museum and other exhibits are open to the public for free. The exhibits cover the historic events of the Pearl Harbor attack and personal memorabilia, photos and authentic artifacts are on display. There is a 1 hour audio tour available for rent of the Memorial and the exhibits on display in the Visitor Center. Through the audio-tour you can also hear firsthand accounts from Pearl Harbor survivors. One of the highlights is the ship's bell from the USS Arizona. There is a short documentary film shown to visitors before departing to see the USS Arizona Memorial. Tickets for the boat trip out to the USS Arizona Memorial can be obtained at the Visitor Center. Once you reach the memorial the tour is self-guided.
The most striking memorial is the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Arizona was hit by a 1,760 pound armor piercing bomb and when the vessel sank, 1,177 men onboard lost their lives and 337 crew members survived. In 1962 a white open-air shrine was dedicated above the water which covers the ship, the names of those who lost their lives are inscribed on the shrine. Visitors can reach the memorial by boat from the Visitor Center on the opposite side of the Pearl Harbor channel.
Ferry boats drops passengers Photo: usnavy/flickr
Interpretive Wayside Exhibits are placed throughout the facility allowing visitors to imagine the harbor as it was at the time of the attack by superimposing descriptive images from 1941 across the panoramic view of the port.
The Remembrance Circle pays tribute to both military and civilians who lost their lives in the 1941 attack and this is one of several moving memorials at the Pearl Harbor site.
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum is walking distance from the Visitor Center. The submarine was first launched in 1942 and served valiantly on several patrols and sunk several enemy vessels. At the museum you can take an audio-tour of the submarine and see exhibits and artifacts, models, weapons and photographs. There is also a Kaiten torpedo, Quad gun and a memorial to the 3,500 submariners who lost their lives on 52 American submarines during WWII.
From the Visitor Center there is a shuttle which takes visitors out to Ford Island in the middle of the Harbor where they can see the Battleship Missouri Memorial; the USS Missouri saw action in the battles of Iwo, Jima, Okinawa and the Korean War. The vessel also hosted the signing of the Japanese surrender at the end of WWII.
The USS Oklahoma Memorial, on Ford Island, is dedicated to the 429 sailors who died during the 1941 attack and the island is also host to the Pacific Aviation Museum.