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Pearl Harbor Tour

Take a few hours during your Hawaiian experience to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by taking in a Pearl Harbor tour. In just 90 minutes on Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese aircraft and submarines attacked Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, killing 2,386 U.S. military and civilian people, wounding 1,139 others and sinking or damaging 18 ships, five of which were battleships. Pearl Harbor is an historical sobering experience and a monument to the entry of America into the Second World War.

On the Complete Pearl Harbor Tour a professional guide starts you out at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, where you visit Hanger 37, a seaplane hanger that survived the attack. Historic footage is part of the 12-minute movie shown in this hanger. Look at a Japanese Zero aircraft. You’ll also see events that followed the Pearl Harbor attack, as the U.S. forces fought in the Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal. An interactive simulator takes you back in time, putting you in the cockpit of a World War II airplane for an aerial dog fight against a skilled enemy pilot.
Pearl Harbor Tour

The next visit is to the Arizona Memorial Visitor’s Center. A total of 1,177 sailors and Marines died on the USS Arizona and 1,102 went down with their ship right here in Pearl Harbor. This National Historic Landmark is only accessible by boat. It consists of a unique, twin-peak structure that straddles the sunken USS Arizona battleship, but doesn’t touch the vessel. The Arizona Memorial contains a shrine with all of the names of those killed on the Arizona. At the center of the memorial is an assembly room with an opening in the floor that looks down on the flooded decks. Flowers are often tossed from this floor to honor the sailors who died in Pearl Harbor. One of the large anchors from the vessel is on display at the entrance of the Arizona Memorial Visitor’s Center, along with one of the ship’s bells. When any U.S. Naval vessel enters Pearl Harbor, a traditional “manning the rails” ceremony takes place whereby personnel stand at attention inside the rails of their ship and salute this memorial while their ship sails by.

Your Pearl Harbor tour includes a visit to the National Cemetery of the Pacific, which is the burial ground for about 53,000 World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans and their dependents. Over 13,000 U.S. Armed Forces personnel who died in World War II were buried at this site. Courts of the Missing, along with other landmarks are taken in on this 7.5-hour tour.

The 9.5-hour Heroes of Pearl Harbor Tour takes in the sights mentioned above, along with a visit to the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Here, you’ll tour the sub while listening to narration about living aboard this submarine during the Second World War. There are exhibits and artifacts about submarines, along with torpedoes, guns and missiles fired from subs.

A number of movies were filmed on Ford Island, home of several of the visits on your Pearl Harbor tour. John Wayne was filmed in the movie “In Harm’s Way” on Ford Island. Scenes from the movie, “Tora Tora Tora,” an American and Japanese depiction of the attack on Pearl Harbor, were shot on Ford Island. Also, the 2001 Michael Bay motion picture, “Pearl Harbor” had footage from Ford Island.

On the Oahu Island and Pearl Harbor Tour, you get 9.5 hours of time to discover Pearl Harbor that also gives you a chance to visit the amazing Byodo-In Temple, a replica of a 90-year-old non-denominational Buddhist temple of Japan. Lush Japanese gardens surround this temple, making for a picturesque site below the Koolau Mountains. Sparrows and peacocks are often viewed around the temple. You’ll also visit the Nu’uanu Pali Wayside, giving you a panoramic view of the windward, northeast coast of Oahu and Kaneohe Bay.

You don’t have to be on the Island of Oahu to see Pearl Harbor. A full-day Island Tour of Oahu from Kona, The Complete Pearl Harbor Tour from Kona and the 11-hour Pearl Harbor Heroes Adventure Tour from Maui are three other historic programs that take in this unique experience. Most of the helicopter tours of Oahu and Honolulu also make flights over Pearl Harbor, giving you a bird’s eye view of this important historical war memorial.

Whether your personal history involves World War II, or you’re just curious about a piece of American history, a Pearl Harbor tour is a must-see visit during your vacation to Hawaii.

Posted by: Howard Green