Lined up tight in a row of seven battleships off Ford Island, the USS Arizona took a direct hit on December 7, 1941, exploded, and rests still on the shallow bottom where she settled. A visit to what is now known as the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, begins prosaically—a line, a wait filled with shopping, visiting the museum, and strolling the grounds (though you can reserve timed tickets online at recreation.gov and skip the wait). When
your tour starts, you watch a short documentary film, then board the ferry to the memorial. The swooping, stark-white memorial, which straddles the wreck of the USS Arizona, was designed by Honolulu architect Alfred Preis to represent both the depths of the low-spirited, early days of the war, and the uplift of victory. A somber, contemplative mood descends upon visitors during the ferry ride; this is a place where 1,777 people died. Gaze at the names of the dead carved into the wall of white marble. Look at oil on the water's surface, still slowly escaping from the sunken ship. Scatter flowers (but no lei—the string is bad for the fish). Salute the flag. Remember Pearl Harbor.
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96818, United States
Nov 20, 2003
This is powerful. You must give yourself at least 3 hours to see everything - including all in the visitor's center. There are usually a few survivor's on hand to speak with you.
Jul 21, 2003
We went straight from the airport on the way to our hotel and were able to take the next tour. very convenient and educational