Aloha! Elaine and I spent our belated wedding anniversary celebration this year in Honolulu, Hawaii from August 18-22, 2009.
The first place of significant interest that went to was Pearl Harbor. We left our hotel in Waikiki at about 630 am. Despite that, when we got to the Memorial, we were already in the 9 am group. We spent the waiting time going around the Museum where they had very interesting displays, scale models and actual memorabilia from the war. We also browsed around the souvenir shop there. I was able to buy a reprint of the Honolulu newspaper dated December 7, 1941, among other things. We also got to meet and talk with some real WWII vets who survived the Pearl Harbor bombings. I was observing some American tourists who said they had family members in the war, and this place really meant a lot for them.
When it was our turn, we were first shown a short but emotional film about that fateful day from actual footage from American and Japanese archives. After that, we were led out to a small shuttle boat that would take us to where the wreckage of the USS Arizona lay from the day it was sunk to now. The atmosphere of the place was hauntingly sad. Seeing the sunken remains of the great battleship and recalling the human casualties that remain in their watery grave was a very eerie experience for all.
Alongside the Memorial was docked the USS Missouri where the Instrument of Surrender of Japan was signed (on Sept. 2, 1945), which ended World War II. It also holds the distinction of being the last battleship built by the United States. The USS Missouri was finally decommissioned in 1992.
This is a scale model of the I.M.S. Akagi, the flagship of the Japanese Imperial Strike Force during the attack on Pearl Harbor -- a very impressive aircraft carrier indeed.
Japanese Imperial Navy Type 91 torpedoes
Normally dropped from 100 meters, diving to nearly that depth before leveling off and running to the target. The relatively shallow 40-foot depth of Pearl Harbor necessitated modifications to the torpedo design and attack strategy. Outfitted with wooden, breakaway fins, and dropped from 10 meters above the water by 40 Nakajima Type 97 attack planes, the aerial torpedo proved devastatingly effective. This torpedo was found accidentally in the early 1990's by a dredging company in the channel off Ford Island.
A Purple Heart Medal
Pearl Harbor Overview
Launching Medal of USS Arizona
Talking to WWII Vets
Autographing a Book for Us
The Memorial Comes into View
The USS Missouri
A Watery Grave
The wall of names of those lost on December 7, 1941.
The marble piece on the left set before the wall lists the names of survivors of the attack, but that have since passed and have had their remains placed underwater on the wreck of the USS Arizona. This so movingly and dramatically demonstrates the camaraderie and familial feelings between shipmates.