Hawaii is known as the land of beaches, romantic havens and never setting sunsets but as usual my incurious soul chose an offbeat tour that I believe is what makes Hawaii so historic and important. The history of World War II is written not just in words, but also in places and destinations. And that’s where some stories unfold about history.
So I booked myself on an early tour to Pearl Harbor and more specifically the USS Arizona, which many not be so much an attraction to the regular tourists. For only those who have been a die-hard fan of the movie Pearl Harbor like me (Oh yes cant forget Ben Affleck) would feel this place a lot more.
Stepping foot at the memorial takes you back to the morning of December 7th, 1941. The real time big screen footage was outstanding because I was standing on the very spot where the attack took place.
Seeing few documentaries, the nuclear missiles that were recovered, submarines I moved on to visit the museum and took a quick ferry ride to the USS Arizona Memorial above the sunken ship.
Reaching this place gives you a chill with the number of names of people engraved who died here. Yes right here is where it all actually happened. The 1,102 crew who lost their lives on that ship are still entombed in the sunken vessel.
The sunken ship still excretes the oil even after so many years. People believe it’s the tears of the dead who sank with the ship as I too witness this prodigy being here.
I was accompanied with people from all over the world who came to pay respect to family and kin who were a part of the Pearl Harbor and hearing their stories, interacting with them was a complete profound experience.
Also, on the Pearl Harbor compound I then made my way to the USS Bowfin, for a chance to tour a WWII submarine. Also known as the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” this ship sank 44 enemy vessels!
Now wouldn’t you want to catch a chance to grasp this too! Making my exit I met with a golden opportunity to meet Al Rodrigues, a retired US Navy sailor who survived the attack! Now that’s how close I came with history in Hawaii!
So ending the tour by meeting a survivor was one experience that only a historic buff like me will absolutely love.
My next stop was at the next historic venue at USS Battleship Missouri. While the USS Arizona represents the beginning the USS Missouri represents the end of World War II.
It was on board the Missouri that Imperial Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945, ending the Second World War.
Making my way through the narrow passages of the ship
Once I embarked the Missouri I had a free reign to explore the ship’s open areas, climbing up ladders to have great views of the harbor, or sliding down stairs into the belly of the ship to see how the crew lived, ate and slept.
Here, it’s easy to mix in a splash of U.S. history with an exhilarating experience for ship-lovers like me.
Where else do you get a chance to move up close and personal with a ship that has a stature as massive as its experience on the water. Not just that, I made sure to sit back and check out the view from the captain’s chair! Getting the chills are you?
US Air Force Aircraft
From there I made way to the history of American aviation from World War II.
Seeing their all-encompassing collection of historic aircraft, featuring everything from bombers and fighter planes to helicopters I was feeling like a part of those historic movies.
Yes shots of Pearl Harbor movie were filmed at the Hangers here. Sometimes, mysteries aren’t where you expect to find them.
This was the case with Pacific Aviation, each aircraft had its own history and story. So much to sink in! You can still see the bullet marks on the windows of the Hangar 79 from the attack.
After such an historic tour I drove by the cemetery at Punchbowl, which is a memorial to honor the men, and women who served in the United States Armed Forces, and those who gave up their lives in the line of duty.
Heading back to Waikiki by evening having fulfilled my incurious soul with next on my list was to watch the movie Pearl Harbor once again. I am sure you too would want to!
- Just make sure you visit the Island of Honolulu specifically for Pearl Harbor and it will totally be worth it