Hawaii: Day Two – The Beginning and End of WWII

USS Arizona Memorial - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Approaching the USS Arizona by boat

USS Arizona: The Beginnings of World War II

Our second day in Hawaii was mostly spent satisfying the historical interests of my father and brother with a trip to Pearl Harbor. There, visitors can see two very important ships, the first of which is the sunken remains of the battleship USS Arizona.

USS Arizona Memorial - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Inside the memorial hall

The Arizona Memorial is a very quiet, solemn place. After an introductory movie in the land-side museum, visitors are taken out by boat to the memorial itself. While most of the above water superstructure has been removed, the base of the giant gun turrent still stands as silent witness.

Around the memorial, there are pools of oil, leaking slowly from the wreckage at a rate of 2 quarts per day even 66 years later. To the memoral staff and locals, the oil is often referred to as the tears of the ship, weeping for the 1,177 crew members lost on December 7th, 1941.

USS Arizona Memorial - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
The Arizona’s forward gun turret base

USS Missouri: The End of the War

USS Missouri - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
The forward guns on the battleship USS Missouri

On the other side of Pearl Harbor, the ship where the japanese surrender ceremony took place on September 2nd, 1945, signaling the end of the second world war, lies docked.

USS Missouri - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Inside the massive battleship

The battleship USS Missouri has a long and rich history, having served in World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War. We were able to take a complete, guided tour throughout the ship, thanks to my younger brother. The tour went from the control deck all the way down to the engine room, and introduced us up close and personal to 60 years of naval history.

USS Arizona Memorial - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Main gun targeting computers

In the course of a few hours, we went from the tragedy that started one of the most famous wars in history, to the joys of the end of the very same conflict. It was a long and exhausting day, but ultimately a rewarding one for all of us.


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