The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor shines a light on an important chapter in American history, providing guests with a trip through time back to December 7th, 1941. When touring the expansive memorial, which encompasses a series of standing exhibits and relics from the war, visitors are able to get a complete picture of the events that unfolded, from the first strike on the USS Arizona to the heroic efforts to repel the incoming assault.
To get a complete picture of the attack on Pearl Harbor and what came after, visitors really need to make a day of it. The exhibits are powerful and can prove draining, so in order to really absorb everything, guests may need to take a break here and there to recharge and contemplate the devastation and losses suffered.
When planning a trek through the Pearl Harbor memorials, take time to step away, grab a bite to eat, and see some of the local attractions before diving back into the history of World War II and the day that drew America into the skirmish.
Where to Start?
Guests start their journey through time at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Complete with exhibits and artifacts of the time, the Visitor Center is an introduction to the area and the attack. The visit continues with a 23-minute film chronicling the morning of the attack to America’s declaration of war against Japan. It’s a powerful start to a visit to Pearl Harbor, and it sets guests up for the stronger exhibits to come.
From the Visitor Center, guests move to the USS Arizona Memorial. Guests stand within a serene structure that stands above the grave of the USS Arizona and the over 1,100 sailors who perished when the mighty battleship sank. The ship leaks droplets of oil, the “Black Tears of the Arizona” cried for the men lost that day.
Right next to the Visitor Center is the Bowfin submarine, launched on the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Bowfin served throughout the war before being permanently decommissioned in 1971 and returned to Pearl Harbor.
When You Need a Break
After experiencing the USS Arizona Memorial, step away and grab a bite to eat to let everything sink in. Local eateries like Forty Niner Restaurant, Dixie Grill, and Anna Miller’s Restaurant are local favorites dishing out simple, flavorful meals. A short break will help lighten the mood a little before you return to the Pearl Harbor to complete your historical voyage.
Winding Down the Visit
The USS Arizona Memorial is a stark contrast to the Battleship Missouri, which stands proudly in the harbor as the symbol of the Allied victory. It was on this battleship that the Japanese signed their surrender, and it’s open to the public for interior tours and viewing of the deck where the treaty was signed.
As the final, poignant stop of the day, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater is the final resting place for service members from World War II onward.