Visit the ships where WWII began and ended on this tour

  • 3
  • 00:07
  • 2 mi
  • $0

Created by Anna Hider - October 11th 2016

When people visit Pearl Harbor, they often just think about going to see the USS Arizona/Pearl Harbor Memorial-- the building that straddles the sunken battleship and allows visitors to catch a glimpse of the noble ship's sad fate. It really is one of America's coolest memorials; it's not just a statue or a plaque, it's a view of the actual ship in its watery grave. It really hammers home how serious the December 7th 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor actually was.

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The view from the memorial is both beautiful and also solemn-- you can look down on the wreckage, and even bring flowers to toss on top of it, or leis to lay on the railings. There's also a shrine with all the names of those killed when the ship went down, and a plaque commemorating the men who escaped; those who survived can elect to have their ashes interred in the ship's wreckage by US Navy Divers. Also keep an eye out for "the tears of the Arizona", the slick of oil from the ship that's slowly leaking and rising to the surface. You can also see the ship's massive anchor (one of two, actually) at the entrance to the visitors' center.

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Uss Missouri - Surrender Deck

But if you're looking for a more satisfying ending to your tour of Pearl Harbor, make sure to stop by the USS Missouri. In 1999, it was moved from its former home on the West Coast and docked parallel to the Arizona (perpendicular to the memorial). The USS Missouri is significant in that it's where the Japanese surrendered to Douglas MacArthur and Chester Nimitz in Tokyo Bay. People originally were worried that place the Missouri so close to the Arizona would overshadow the Arizona, but the two together have been come to symbolize the beginning and the end of the war. Walking along its decks definitely adds perspective to what it would have been like aboard it (or aboard the Arizona) during the war.

USS Oklahoma Memorial

If that's still not enough WWII history for you, then make sure to stop by the USS Oklahoma Memorial, which pays tribute to another ship sunk during the Pearl Harbor attack and its 429 crew members-- although the battleship was capsized, it was salvaged and scrapped afterwards, which is why it's so different from the memorial to the Arizona.

Anna Hider

Just a Civil War beard enthusiast, writer at Roadtrippers, and aspiring astronaut reaching for the stars.