Remembering Pearl Harbor

We included Honolulu in our visit to Hawaii to steep in history.  We took a bus tour with Roberts Hawaii out to World War II Valor in the Pacific Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
When we arrived, we were greeted with the American flag flapping in the stiff breeze.
We walked past well coiffed fields of Birds of Paradise.
Admission is free but there are only a limited number of tickets available each day.  The flow is carefully orchestrated.  We joined the line to enter the theatre and watch a 20 minute video on the motivations for the attack and what took place on the "date that would live in infamy" (FDR).
We emerged into the sun and boarded a boat the USS Arizona Memorial one of the many battleships that was sunk when the Japanese fighters attacked.
A lovely contemplative memorial sits atop the hulk of the sunken ship.
The names of those that died that day are listed on a wall in the memorial.  I was struck by the fact that there were several sets of people with the same last name.  Apparently whole families (brothers and father) served on the USS Arizona and were tragically lost.
Bits of the rusted wreck peek out from the surface of the water depending on the tides.
 The underwater wreck has since sprouted a coral reef.  You can almost make out one of the striped fish swimming in the area in the picture below.  From death breeds life.
We had about 15 minutes to look around and pay our respects to those that were lost.
In the distance, we could see the USS Missouri where the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed to end World War II.
We could still see a slick of gas and oil floating on the surface, a result of slow seepage over the last 60 years.
A somber plaque remembers the dead.
Many of the visitors brought leis which they pulled apart flower by flower and sent afloat in remembrance.
We returned to shore and were awed by the size of the USS Arizona's anchor on display nearby.
The memorial encourages:  Remember - Understand - Honor.  We will never forget.
I noticed that there were quite a few Japanese tourists visiting the site to pay their respects as well.
We soon boarded our bus again to head out to the USS Missouri.
The security rules on this tour were particularly challenging.  We could not bring any bags with us on the USS Arizona or Battleship Missouri Memorials.  We couldn't even leave our possessions on the bus but rather had to leave them in at a special Bag Check area at the USS Arizona Memorial.  Once our bus and the people onboard were cleared, we walked the short distance to the Battleship Missouri.  I liked these water vending machines featuring Rosie the Riveter.  I hadn't thought about her since our visit to the SS Red Oak Victory ship near San Francisco over 2 years ago.
We walked along a very patriotic walkway to board the ship.
State flags flanked the pier.
We were reminded of far off places on this homemade sign.
The Battleship itself was impressively equipped.
Our bus tour included a guided tour of Battleship Missouri.  We stood on the spot where General MacArthur and representatives from the Allied Forces executed the instrument of surrender that ended World War II.
We even saw a copy of the document under glass.
The tour was quite informative and gave us good context around this era in history.
We stopped for a quick bite to eat at the Pearl Canteen.  The one complaint I have about our bus tour is that it didn't allow enough time for lunch.  We basically had to squeeze in a quick snack after we finished our tour.  I felt like we were rushed in exploring the Battleship as a result.
Our final stop of the day was Punchbowl National Cemetery, more formally known as the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  We could see Diamond Head in the distance over a canopy of lush Monkey Pod trees.
My favorite Birds of Paradise also made an appearance.
We received a guided tour of the cemetery and associated war memorials.
Plaques remembering all manner of units of the US Military lined the path to the viewpoint at the top of the hill.
We arrived at the top and enjoyed sweeping views of Honolulu below.
The viewing platform itself was nicely landscaped.
We began our descent down the hill once more.  Our tour guide pointed out some of the local flora.
A large complex commemorating the war sits on the premises.
The goddess Columbia, representing tempered strength adorns the facade.
Sheltered from the elements, the inner face of the monument has colorful maps outlining the important battles in the Pacific during World War II through Korea.
The maps were decorated with whimsical creatures like this octopus inside a compass.
I was amazed by the size of some of the islands being fought over.  For example, Kwajalein Island is barely larger than the airstrip the Allied Forces were fighting to take.
As we were leaving, I saw what looked like the face of Lady Liberty in blue glass.
As we rode back to Waikiki, we reflected on a fulfilling and history filled day in the islands.

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Sidewalk Safari: Remembering Pearl Harbor
Remembering Pearl Harbor
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Sidewalk Safari
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