Why do we sit through hours of lectures covering events that we weren’t even alive for? What’s the benefit of knowing how a certain conflict that may be hundreds of years old was resolved or why a certain nation may have pursued complete control of a region? The common answer is that history can repeat itself and the only way to prevent the atrocities of the past from recurring is to ensure those events aren’t forgotten.
This is why places like Pearl Harbor and the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument are important to future generations. Having a specific space dedicated to the events of December 7th, 1941 ensures that the details of the attack won’t be forgotten, and neither will the heroes who were made after the dropping of the first bombs.
Within this monument, curious visitors find a selection of artifacts from the attack and relics from 1940’s Oahu. There’s also the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated to the 1,177 men lost aboard one of the battleships that was never recovered after the Japanese assault.
Complementing the Arizona Memorial is the Battleship Missouri. While not present at the attack itself, the Missouri became one of the US Navy’s most important vessels when world leaders came aboard for the official signing of Japan’s surrender in 1945.
The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is a look back to over 75 years ago, but as an observer of the collection of memorials and relics, you may wonder what you’re meant to take away from it.
What’s to be Learned
Viewing the remnants of history at Pearl Harbor may not make you an expert military tactician who can prevent a repeat from happening; it’s more of a remembrance of the display of patriotism that spread across the nation once word of the attack spread.
As you explore the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and its exhibits and galleries, peer down into the wreckage of the Arizona, and walk on the deck where World War II officially ended, you feel some of the same emotions that Americans felt in the aftermath of the attack. In times of relative peace, it’s easy to lose touch with those feelings, but the monuments at Pearl Harbor help bring them back to the forefront.
It’s never a bad thing to know and understand world history, especially if it’s an event that affected many who are still alive to tell about it. Within the “Road to War” and “Attack!” galleries and exhibits, you’re transported back to that terrible day and, with the help of a new VR experience, relive the feeling of realizing that Pearl Harbor was under attack.
There is much to see and learn about at Pearl Harbor and what you take away from it is yours to hold onto and pass down to those close to you.