No trip to Hawaii is complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor. The image of the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri depict the beginning and the end of World War II.
The battleship Arizona lies, as a memorial, where she sunk on December 7, 1941 and the United States was thrust into World War II. Over 1100 of her 1400 man crew were killed instantly when a bomb penetrated the deck and exploded in the ship’s ammunition magazine. We were not able to get on to the memorial due to the fact that the gangway has become structurally unsafe and is currently under repair.
The battleship Missouri sits proudly in the former “Battleship Row” as the ship where the articles of surrender were signed by the Japanese that ended the war in the Pacific. The ship traveled to Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremony. The Missouri was still in service into the early 90’s before she was brought to Pear Harbor and retired from active duty.
The statue and quote of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz sums up the total experience of what has become known as “The Greatest Generation”. They were the children of the depression. They did not ask for war, but they did not shrink from the challenge. More than any generation before or since, they saved this world from the tyranny. Imperial Japan had plans to dominate the Pacific while Hitler and Nazi Germany would rule the world if it were not for this generation of Americans and their allies. They showed us that freedom is never free, and it must be defended at all costs. Our nation owes this generation a debt of gratitude that it can never repay. Sadly, most of these brave souls have passed on, and in a few more years they will all be gone from this life.
The visit to Pearl Harbor was an emotional and inspiring day. There are several buildings that have artifacts and video presentations that give an insight into what happened on that day. If you go to Hawaii, do not pass up the opportunity to visit Pearl Harbor. Adjacent to the harbor is the Pacific Air Museum. We did not get to visit that building and I will always wish that we had more time.