It is rare for someone who grows up in Hawaii to not have visited Pearl Harbor. During my childhood I went on school trips there, and also did a few tours there with my dad. However, none of the previous tours I went on were as comprehensive as the one that I did today. As we were in the bus driving down the freeway to Pearl Harbor our driver explained that the tour can be done one of two ways. We could go to the Battleship Missouri in the morning and the Arizona Memorial in the afternoon or we could do the Arizona Memorial in the morning and the Battleship Missouri in the afternoon. He said that if it was possible he was going to try and take us to do the Battleship Missouri first because in his previous experiences on the ship he's noticed that in the afternoon the temperatures on the boat are much higher because the ship has had more time to absorb heat from the sun. So we did just that and went on the Battleship Missouri first.
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Travel Blog #145 - Pearl Harbor With Polynesian
The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is arguably the single event in the history of the Hawaiian Islands that has had the greatest influence on what Hawaii is today. This act catapulted the United States into war with the Japanese. Many people have also theorized that if it was not for this attack, Hawaii would never have become the 50th state in the union. The mass pilgrimage of members of the "Greatest Generation" has also been considered by many to be the force that created tourism as we know it in Hawaii today. Of all the things to do and see in Hawaii, Pearl Harbor is the most visited place in the state. Today we decided to do a tour of the area. Early in the morning we embarked on what turned out to be the most comprehensive single day tour to Pearl Harbor that I have ever done in my life.
As we approached the ship I couldn't help but awe at the sheer size of the structure. At just over 887 feet long and 45,000 tons it truly is a colossal war machine. This ship holds a special place in history because it was the boat that was used for the signing of the peace treaty with Japan that officially ended World War Two. The administration of Pearl Harbor felt that it was fitting to park the ship next to the sunken USS Arizona. The sinking of the Arizona was the location first violent action of the war so to have these two historic ships side next to each other is a great way to symbolize the entire history of the war. During our time on the USS Missouri we had the option of taking a narrated guided tour around the ship. I love learning things so I thought it would be fun to tag along and see what the guide had to say about the different areas of the ship. I'm really glad that we did that because there were so many things that I never would've learned if we had opted out of the guided tour. At the completion of the tour we still had plenty of time to cruise around on our own to take pictures and explore the ship more thoroughly.
When we were done with the Battleship Missouri we made our way over to the Pacific Aviation Museum. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We first ate lunch in the cafe and then met up with for our guided tour of the museum. Our tour guide was dressed for the part (wearing authentic WWII Air Force fatigues) and filled with information. There were various planes that were in the museum that all had stories behind what made them so significant in the war. There was a one of the bombers that was used in the "Dolittle Raid" on Japan that immediately followed the Pearl Harbor Attack as well as many other perfectly restored aircraft. On the floor there was a giant map of the Pacific that was painted in the middle of the room. Our guide used this to point out the precise routes that were used, as well as the exact locations of many of the pivotal battles in the war. It was a very hands-on, interactive and fun learning experience.
When we were done with the Pacific Aviation Museum we moved on to our next stop, the USS Arizona Memorial, and the Bowfin Submarine Museum. Here we were given a few hours to mull around the sights. We opted to see the submarine museum first and then go on to take the boat out to the memorial second. During our tour of the submarine we were provided with an audio device that gave us a narration of all the different exhibits. Each exhibit had a number and to hear information about it all you had to do was type that number into the audio device, it was a great system! When we were done with the audio tour we made our way over to the ferry that took us out to the memorial. The experience that we had out there was something I will never forget.
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