In a rare conjunction of the planets, both of us forgot the departure time for today's tour, so we missed the bus. Slightly panicky, we found the guide's cell number, called and arranged to meet, then took a cab to Pearl. The early bus had spent the intervening hour in traffic, and our taxi handily caught up with them at the gate to the memorial park. After two trips to the checked baggage building (you can't bring purses OR camera bags onto the site) we managed to gain entry.
We had an hour to wander through museums and gift shops, then after a short wait (ironically a Japanese tour group was shown into the theatre before the rest of us) we were ushered into one of two waterfront theatres for a 20 minute presentation on December 7, 1941. A very somber, sobering film. At film's end, we were shown through the exits to a Navy launch which ferried the 100-or-so of us out to the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the sunken wreck of the ship near Ford Island. There, we scrambled off and spent a reflective 15 minutes suspended over the grave of the 900 men still entombed in the ship.
Touching stories abounded including one of an officer on another ship who had the ashes of one of his twin daughters with him and had planned to have a service said that day and bury her ashes at sea. He was standing on deck waiting for the tender when the Japanese struck. Sixty-odd years later, the surviving sister proved to the Navy that her twin was also on the site and her name was added to the memorial. Some sailors who survived the attack on the Arizona have chosen to have their ashes returned to the site to be interred with their fellows.
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum
Paul and a steam-driven WWII torpedo
USS Arizona Memorial. Elvis did a benefit concert in Hawaii to help raise funds to complete it.
Interior of the monument
Number two gun turret base
Deck of the ship sunken in place
Names of the men still entombed in the ship
Fuel oil still seeping from the ship, known as "Black Tears" by the locals
Last existing battleship, the USS Missouri where the Japanese surrender was signed
Bird of Paradise Flower