The bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, was the immediate catalyst for the United States to enter the World War II conflict. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War through various sites in Pearl Harbor and is one of the top three most-visited destinations in Hawaii with over 4,500 visitors daily.
On that fateful day in 1941, 1,177 crewmen on the USS Arizona lost their lives during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is the gateway for visitors to Pearl Harbor with the USS Arizona Memorial, exhibit galleries, the World War II Memorial Theater and Remembrance Circle. Entrance to the visitor centre is free, but you'll need to reserve your place for the USS Arizona Memorial program which is limited to a first-come, first-served basis for walk-ins. The 75-minute program runs from 8am to 1pm daily and includes a 23-minute doco on the attack as well as access to the memorial. The 56-metre memorial spans the middle of the sunken ship and consists of the entry room, assembly room, an observation area and the shrine room.
Other historic Pearl Harbor sites include the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the memorials on Ford Island. The USS Bowfin Submarine at 11 Arizona Memorial Place is open daily from 7am to 5pm. Take the Ford Island Shuttle from the centre to visit the USS Oklahoma Memorial and Battleship Missouri Memorial - the last active service battleship in the world. The Pacific Aviation Museum, also on Ford Island, is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Tickets and transport for all three sites can be organised through the visitor centre. To visit the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, take the 20 or 42 bus from Waikiki to the centre.