We were up early on Friday, December 19 and ready for our morning history lesson. Merri Beth, Zander, Coco, my mom, and I were heading over to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites to learn more about what happened on December 7, 1941 and the years that followed.
We ate breakfast in our condo and were out the door before 7:00 am. We hopped on the H1 and headed towards Ford Island. Thankfully, we avoided most of the morning traffic and made great time to our destination.
When we arrived at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, I went and got our free tickets for the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. I went back to the parking lot where Merri Beth was parking the rental car. Our tickets were for the first tour of the day, which started at 7:30 am. We had just a few minutes to gather our things and enter the visitor center. The National Park Service does not allow any bags into the park, so we put anything we needed in our pockets.
There was a short wait outside the theater before the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial program began. Visitors watch a short film about the attack on Pearl Harbor, then take a ferry over to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. The Navy operates the ferry that takes you from the visitor center to the memorial over the sunken U.S.S. Arizona Battleship in Pearl Harbor.
It’s very somber and mindful on the memorial. To think about what happened there and how many men died during the attack is very dismal. It’s definitely a time for reflection and respect. As they suggest at the memorial and during the short film: Remember, understand, honor.
The Navy officers said the ferry would be back in about 15-20 minutes, but it took longer than that. The only reason we noticed was because Coco was getting a little restless. There’s only so much you can do with a toddler on a memorial in the middle of Pearl Harbor. We did the best we could with her. The ferry finally arrived and returned the first tour group for the day back to the visitor center.
After our visit to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, we meandered through the rest of the visitor center. We walked around and saw the contemplation circle, rememberance circle, and the U.S.S Arizona anchor.
Zander and I wanted to tour the U.S.S. Bowfin to learn more about submarine warfare. We went to purchase our tickets and started our tour. The park provides you with a headset for the self-guided tour. Zander and I boarded the U.S.S. Bowfin and explored the tight quarters on the submarine. I enjoyed being on the deck much more than being below—it was a little too close quarters for me.
The view from Punch Bowl Memorial
There is a grand staircase with a tall statue and memorial at the top. Along the stairs are various walls honoring missing service men and women from all branches of the U.S. military. Coco was napping, so Merri Beth stayed back in the car with her. Zander and I went all the way to the top to explore and snap a few pictures. My mom wandered around near the bottom, reading some of the memorials and absorbing the view.
I grabbed a few pictures of Honolulu from Punch Bowl on our way out of the memorial. The view is amazing and the grounds our magnificent and well-kept. And while clouds and potential rain were surrounding us, we were spared the wet weather during our visit.
Next on our list for the day was lunch with friends in downtown Honolulu, just a short drive down the hill from Punch Bowl.