“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This helps to explain the importance of places like the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. It is our belief that anyone who visits the island of Oahu should take the time to visit Pearl Harbor. The exhibits and memorials there honor the servicemen lost in the attack, but they’re also a remembrance of the times and the friction between two nations that culminated in war.
What’s It Mean to Me?
Most of us weren’t around for World War II and maybe nobody in your family served overseas, but the events of Pearl Harbor and the ensuing war impacted everyone’s life in some way. Seventy-five years ago, the Japanese swooped in and attempted to lay waste to the United States Navy’s Pacific Fleet, drawing the US into a war in which it had vowed to remain disengaged.
These events led to the world we live in today. So though the Pearl Harbor attack took place during an entirely different generation, it’s still important to the country and the world at large, and the future of all. It’s one of the most historically important events to have happened to the United States and had a profound effect on the future, likely more than you ever considered.
Remembering the Past
Pearl Harbor is fertile ground for memories, with artifacts and exhibits that can easily transport you back to the early 1940s. It’s an engaging series of attractions for a reason – to ensure we never forget. So we’re never again caught off guard like we were on December 7, 1941. The USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri, the Bowfin submarine, and the Punchbowl National Cemetery are all there to remind us to keep an eye on our enemies and to always remain vigilant so that the men and women of the United States don’t have to live in a state of fear.
The past is our key to a better future and we tend to ignore it, wanting instead to keep our eyes forward. Sites like Pearl Harbor—and now the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City—mustn’t be forgotten and ignored, or events like these could happen again.
Your Oahu Visit
By all means, go out and experience the beauty of Oahu. Swim in the warm Pacific and ride a zipline across the beautiful terrain, but take some time to experience the memorials at Pearl Harbor. Pay your respects not just to the servicemen lost in the attack but to the historical event that played such a big role in getting us to where we are today.