On the way, we stopped at the Punchbowl Crater, a perfect bowl-shaped crater that is lush and green. It is the location of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Tens of thousands of soldiers are buried there, veterans of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. There are a few noteworthy Hawaiian politicians buried there, and strangely, two local celebrities: Donn Beach, the creator of the tiki bar and Norman Collins, a well-known Honolulu tattoo artist.
- “The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.”
We continued on to Pearl Harbor, eventually arriving at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. It’s a collection of small museums and exhibits, which includes the USS Arizona.
For those of you who may not know, the USS Arizona was sunk at anchor in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. A bomb struck the forward munitions hold, killing 1,177 sailors and marines from the concussion of the resulting explosion. The bodies of those sunk in the wreckage have been left in place, since the effort to retrieve them would have been too dangerous.
The USS Arizona Memorial straddles the bridge of the sunken ship. Here is a model of the memorial:
On the way back, the sailors piloting the shuttle allowed this young visitor to steer the boat most of the way back, giving him simple verbal directions, since he couldn’t see out of the window.