Not everyone is an American history buff. Or any history, for that matter. World History may not have been your strongest subject and you’ve yet to spend more than five minutes watching a History Channel special. Does that mean you shouldn’t bother visiting the historic sites at Pearl Harbor when you’re visiting Hawaii? Not at all. There are plenty of reasons to visit Pearl Harbor.

While Pearl Harbor is a part of history and a common reason for visiting is to learn about what unfolded on December 7, 1941, it’s also a means of understanding the United States and how it became the global power it is today. The historic sites at Pearl Harbor help give a picture of what occurred on that ill-fated Sunday and in the years after that caused the United States to go from an isolationist nation to one so deeply involved in foreign affairs.

A trip to Pearl Harbor is nothing like reading a textbook or listening to someone discuss events that took place decades ago. There’s something about actually being at the sites where the events occurred that appeals even to those who don’t think they’re interested in history.

A Dedication to American Heroes

The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the many reasons to visit Pearl Harbor

The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the many reasons to visit Pearl Harbor

Along with gaining a better understanding of the attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the United States into World War II, visitors to Pearl Harbor can pay their respects to the heroes who sacrificed everything to defend their nation.

Chief among reasons to visit Pearl Harbor are sites like the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Oklahoma Memorial, created to honor more than 1,600 men who perished aboard those two vessels during the Pearl Harbor attack.

So while the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and the other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites provide plenty of details about the 1941 Japanese attack, they also serve as a place to pay your respects to those lost that fateful morning.

Staring down at the rusting wreckage of the sunken battleship USS Arizona is a heart-wrenching experience, regardless of how you might feel about the overall topic of history.

Reasons to Visit Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Circle

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Circle

The historic sites at Pearl Harbor are for everyone, regardless of nationality. This isn’t a fancy museum where you need to have a refined appreciation for the arts. Pearl Harbor carries with it a universal message that shouldn’t be forgotten, no matter where you’re from or what your interests are.

Even if you’re not big into history, a trip to Pearl Harbor should still be on your itinerary. You won’t regret spending a few hours exploring the historic sites, viewing the somber memorials, and learning about the day that defined what the United States would later become over the course of World War II and in the years that followed.

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