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This is probably the most widely known historical sight in Hawaii. The first American battle of World War II happened here. At one minute before eight o’clock on December 7, 1941, Japanese fighters bombed this harbor. It forever changed American and world history. Three-thousand five-hundred eighty-one Americans were killed or injured in the bombing and 347 American warplanes were torn to scrap metal.
If you want to visit Pearl Harbor, you have a few options. The best way is to drive along Route 99 and find the signs to the parking area. The other option is taking a bus and be dropped off right at the entrance. The entire bus process can take about an hour, but you get dropped off right at the door. You can get a fairly extensive tour of Pearl Harbor for about $10 per person. You’d get on a toured cruise and go out to the harbor itself. They aren’t permitted to drop you off at the erected memorial, but you can certainly get a good feel. Your other option is to take a Navy shuttle boat out to the memorial.
You can’t help but feel the emotion that was that December day in 1941 when you’re at Pearl Harbor. It’s truly a moving experience and one you won’t forget. Some people say the memorial looks like a tombstone, others think it’s a national treasure and symbolizes a ship that is bent in the middle. The USS Arizona is the focus of the Pearl Harbor memorial because most of the deaths happened onboard that ship. The Arizona sunk to the bottom. The names of those who died during the attack are inscribed on the memorial.
There were many survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack who are still alive today. If you’re lucky enough to take the tour on the day a survivor is present, you may get to hear first-hand stories of the battle. The U.S. Naval Academy has ruled that any survivor who wants to be buried with those who were killed in the battle may have their bodies or remains laid to rest at Pearl Harbor.