You absolutely cannot visit Oahu without going to see Pearl Harbor. The tickets to see the Arizona Memorial are free but I forgot to order them online and they only give out 2,000 tickets a day at the memorial. We were a little nervous about being sure we could secure tickets while we were on Oahu because when I tried to get two of the 300 tickets available online each day, it said the next available date was a week from when we were due to leave! We arrived early in the morning and we were very pleased when there was no line at the ticket counter. The lady handed me two tickets with no problems with a very short wait for our turn to take the boat over to the USS Arizona memorial. I had read that during busy tourist season the wait could be as much as 3+ hours. We purchased headphones which gave us an audio tour of all the exhibits at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center as well as an audio tour at the USS Arizona memorial.
While waiting for the boat we were taken into an auditorium where we watched a movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor. We then boarded a boat for the very short trip over to the memorial. I have no adequate words to describe our time there. How does one possibly write anything that would do justice to such a hallowed spot? The USS Arizona Memorial is built over the sunken hull and honors the 1,177 crewmen who died. The memorial was dedicated in 1962 and the hull is a tomb for over 900 sailors who died inside.
Also nearby is the USS Oklahoma honoring 429 sailors who died when the ship capsized, as well as the visible hull of the USS Utah Memorial commemorating its 58 dead.
When we returned from the Memorial we spent some time touring the Visitors Center with the
After lunch Bill took a tour of the Battleship Missouri Memorial which was docked nearby. The USS Missouri was launched on January 29, 1944, and is the last U.S. battleship ever built. We toured the USS Iowa battleship in a previous blog “October 18, 2014 Huntington Beach, California” both ships are identical but have important but different roles. She is three football fields long and towers over 20 stories tall. Most importantly, after joining the battle of Okinawa, she became the site of the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.
We visited Pearl Harbor on December 6, the day before the 73rd anniversary of the attack. We were excited to learn that the next day, December 7th, there would be a Pearl Harbor parade down the main street in Waikiki, a block from where we were staying. We walked down the street from our condo and found a seat on a lava rock wall. The parade was very patriotic, with the grand marshals being four of the survivors of Pearl Harbor. There are only nine remaining survivors of the USS Arizona and approximately 2,000 to 2,500 Pearl Harbor survivors alive today of the approximately 60,000 survivors on the day of the attack. The attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,400 people and sank or damaged 21 vessels and 323 military planes.
In the parade we saw many bands, all playing patriotic music, including bands from Roanoke, Virginia and Sanford, Florida. Bill and I love to watch the TV show “Hawaii 5-0” and we were excited to see in the parade the guy on the show who has the garlic shrimp truck. Since the parade was held at night it was especially hard to get clear pictures of moving people.