Humbling tribute, hallowed ground


No trip to Honolulu can be had without a visit to the USS Arizona/World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. O’ahu is dotted with many an historic military memorial – including the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, where more than 25,000 lost in three American wars now rest – but none hold such a powerful testament to the lives sacrificed for our nation as the site of the Pearl Harbor bombing. Visitors to the center, which honors the 1,177 lives lost Dec. 7, 1941, regularly describe the experience as emotionally powerful, and many leave behind their tears in memoriam. The sunken USS Arizona is the center of the memorial, and, waving in honor of the ship and her crew, the United States flag flies from the fallen vessel’s own flagpole. Some of those who survived the Japanese bomber attacks on nearly 200 ships and other outlets still visit the monument. Some volunteer there. But, as they all move toward the centennial mark in age, their numbers continue to diminish. Nonetheless, the monument is the single-most recommended site to visit in Honolulu.