Last month we recognized the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On that infamous morning of December 7, 1941 hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked Pearl Harbor Naval Base, inciting the start of World War II. In a little under two hours the surprise attack managed to kill about 2,000 American soldiers and nearly destroy 20 naval vessels, eight battleships and 300 planes.
It’s hard to believe that this tragedy was so long ago, but the memory and effects live on to this day. From sunken battle ships to memorials — guests flock year-round to visit Pearl Harbor to remember what took place 75 years ago.
You can commemorate and honor the history of that fateful day by visiting these four sites:
USS Arizona Memorial
The most visited attraction on Oahu, the USS Arizona Memorial serves as a commemorative resting spot for the 1,177 crewmen who were killed while aboard the USS Arizona in 1941. The 184-foot-long memorial was built above the sunken wreckage of the USS Arizona Battleship in the 1960’s. To this day oil from the ship can be seen rising to the surface of the water, commonly referred to as “the tears of the Arizona.” The memorial is only accessible by shuttle boat and is one of the stops during our Day at Pearl Harbor Tour.
USS Battleship Missouri
Anchoring in at more than 58,000 tons and measuring an estimated 900 feet long, the USS Missouri Battleship outweighs its competition in size and in history. While the battleship wasn’t involved in the events that took place on December 7, 1941, it played a large role in the history of Pearl Harbor. While docked in Tokyo Bay in 1945, the emperor of Japan surrendered on the dock of the USS Missouri and ultimately ended World War II. The “Mighty Mo” was the last battleship in American history to be commissioned and served 50 years of duty before being decommissioned in 1992. Seven years later the ship was relocated to Pearl Harbor where it serves as a humble reminder of World War II.
Pacific Aviation Museum
Ranked as one of the top ten aviation attractions to visit in the nation, the Pacific Aviation Museum soars with informational exhibits dedicated to the historical events at Pearl Harbor – as well as remnants from carriers that were attacked. The museum is located on Ford Island and occupies more than 16 acres, including hangars 37 and 79. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack hangar 37 was used as a seaplane hangar and is one of the few hangars that survived the air raid. However, hangar 79 was not as fortunate and had to be restored – but traces of bullet holes can still be seen in its glass windows.
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is home to thousands of fallen American soldiers and veterans, including over 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II. In hopes of finding a permanent burial site for the thousands of military personnel who died in the Pearl Harbor attacks, congress began construction for the Punchbowl cemetery in 1948. The cemetery is home to one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the island and attracts more than five million visitors every year. It also one of the spotlight stops on our Stars & Stripes Tour.