The following are Hawaii's four World War II Memorials:

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific - It is in this cemetery that the remains of the first casualties on the attack of Pearl Harbor were interred. The Honolulu Memorial on the north west end was constructed to honor the service, achievements, and sacrifices of the men and women who served in the Pacific during World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.

USS Arizona Memorial Shrine - The USS Arizona was one of the seven battleships docked along "Battleship Row" on the south east shore of Ford Island when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. During the attack, the ship exploded and sank with 1,177 of her crew. This attack, referred to as the "Day of Infamy," triggered the involvement of the United States in World War II.

USS Battleship Missouri Memorial - This world-famous Battleship, nicknamed the "Mighty Mo," is now berthed on Battleship row in Pearl Harbor and converted into a museum which is open to the public. It was on this ship that Gen. Douglas MacArthur accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese on September 2, 1945 which ended World War II. The tour of the battleship is a fascinating and interactive historic experience and allows visitors to walk the decks, see the wardroom and quarters, and visualize how the crew served and lived on board the ship.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park - Nicknamed the "Pearl Harbor Avenger," the USS Bowfin was launched a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Visitors get a glimpse of where the crew worked, ate and slept through the patrols it made during the War. Nearby is a Waterfront Memorial which pays tribute to the more than 3,500 submariners and 52 American submarines lost in World War II.


One of the most visited special attraction in the State of Hawaii is the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. It was constructed to honor the sacrifices and achievements of American Armed Forces in the Pacific during World War II and the Korean conflict plus those missing from the Vietnam Conflict. The memorial to U.S. astronaut Ellison Onizuka of Hawaii who perished aboard the Challenger space shuttle is also at Punchbowl. An unknown soldier killed in the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 was the first internment at this site. Annually, over five million people visit the Memorial, making it the most frequently visited attraction in Hawaii.

The cemetery is set within the crater of an extinct volcano known to Oahu's residents as "Punchbowl" because of its shape. The crater was once known to Hawaiians as Puowaina, or "the hill for placing of sacrifices." It is for this reason that the street leading to the memorial is also called Puowaina. During World War II memorial site served as a fire-control post for defense of the harbor. It was the Territory of Hawaii that offered it to the federal government for use as a military cemetery.

As you enter the main gate of the national cemetery, at a distance you will immediately see the impressive Memorial Building. Inside this building is a chapel, mural maps detailing Pacific Theatre conflicts of World War II and Korea. Portrayed are ten maps that record the names of World War II campaigns in the Pacific and two maps of the major battle actions in the Korean Conflict. The maps trace the step-by-step progress of the Pacific war that ultimately led to the defeat of the Japanese Empire.

Within the memorial is a series of stairways bordered by massive 12-foot-high walls of Italian Trani marble called the Ten Courts of the Missing. Inscribed on these walls are the names of 8,093 who were declared missing in action from World War II. Another 8,163 are listed as the missing from the Korean Conflict. Two half-courts were dedicated in 1980 at the foot of the stairway to honor 2,489 missing from Vietnam.

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The names are listed alphabetically by branch of service. They represent every state of the Union and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Samoa, the Philippines, The Panama Canal Zone, Mexico and Canada. Medal of Honor winners are designated in the courts by a gold star and gold lettering of the name. The gravesites of the veterans who have been interred in the cemetery are geometrically laid out around the crater's 112-acre floor.The tablets do not record the names of those interred in the cemetery since each gravesite has a name written on a stone tablet marking the veteran's resting place. The Dedicatory Stone at the base of the stairs is the focal point of numerous wreath-laying ceremonies each year and on it is an inscription which reads as follows:

"In These Gardens Are Recorded the Names of Americans Who Gave Their Lives in the Service of Their Country and Whose Earthly Resting Place is Known Only to God."

The 30-foot high statue of Columbia gazes down upon the Court. Beneath her are the words of sympathy written by President Abraham Lincoln to a mother whose five sons were killed during the Civil War. It reads as follows: "The Solemn Pride That Must Be Yours to Have Laid So Costly A Sacrifice Upon the Altar of Freedom."

From the back of the Memorial, if you walk towards the ocean on the outer drive and follow the Memorial Walk up to the viewing deck, you'll be rewarded with one of the best views of Honolulu - from Diamond Head to Ewa Beach. Right below you will see the long lines of vehicles moving along both directions of the H-1 Freeway, the tall buildings in the downtown area, and the hotels that line up along Kalakaua Avenue. You will also see the numerous homes and apartment buildings scattered all over the leeward side of Oahu, the jets taking off or landing at the Honolulu International Airport, and the beaches of Waikiki & Ala Moana with the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean extending into the horizon. It is a magnificent panoramic view of Honolulu and is no doubt a beautiful sight to behold.

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The National Cemetery is now filled to capacity with 33,143 grave sites. There are no white crosses used to mark the grave sites. Individual marble tablets laid flush to the ground are used to identify each person buried at the cemetery. And during Memorial Day, as a tribute to all those buried at the National Cemetery, the local boy scouts plant small American flags at each grave site. Flowers and leis are also placed on each tablet. More than 100 flags line the road leading to the memorial along the central mall. The flags once covered the caskets of those buried here and elsewhere and have been donated to the cemetery of this purpose. The "Avenue of Flags" also is displayed on Presidents Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.


The USS Arizona Memorial shrine was built in honor of those who lost their lives during the Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941. This incident, which Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt described as a "date which will live in infamy," brought the United States the very next day into World War II. From history we learned that it was in the early morning of December 7, 1941 when Japanese airplanes took off from aircraft carriers for a bombing raid on Pearl Harbor, the site of a U.S. military installation on Oahu, Hawaii. The surprise attack which was masterminded by Admiral Yamamoto, came in two waves that included a total of 78 aircraft and 272 bombers. During the attack, 21 U.S. Navy ships were sunk or damaged and 2,395 Americans died. It was a catastrophe for the United States because about half of the Pacific fleet was in port.

The USS Arizona Memorial grew out of a wartime desire to establish some sort of recognition and tribute for those who died in the attack. Ideas and suggestions for such a memorial began in 1943, but it wasn't until 1949, when the Territory of Hawaii established the Pacific War Memorial Commission, that the first real steps were taken to bring it about. President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the creation of the Memorial in 1958. The memorial, which was designed by Alfred Preis, was completed in 1961 and dedicated in 1962. It is a simple white marble structure constructed to straddle across the mid-portion of the submerged battleship Arizona that was sunk by torpedo bombs during the surprise attack. It is 184 feet long and varies in width from 27 feet at the center to 36 feet at the ends.

The assembly area within the memorial can accommodate 200 people for ceremonies. At one end is a shrine room which contains a Vermont marble wall with the engraved names of Arizona's 1177 sailors and marines killed aboard the battleship during the attack. There were actually only 75 bodies that were recovered from the Arizona, and the remaining 1,102 are still entombed within the metal hull of the sunken battleship. The USS Arizona was never decommissioned and her flag still flies daily from a pole attached to the battleship's main mast. Rainbow-colored oil slicks can still be seen floating on the water above the ship. The flagstaff, which was temporarily relocated during construction, is mounted on a portion of the battleship's superstructure and doesn't touch any portion of the memorial itself.

The tour to the memorial starts with a 23-minute movie about the memorial and exclusive footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Visitors then board a U.S. Navy ferry boat which takes them to the actual site where the USS Arizona lies underwater. All visitors disembark on the Memorial and return with their shuttle boat. There are two official ceremonies held on the Arizona Memorial each year: Memorial Day and December 7th which commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor. On these special days, representatives from different patriotic organization attend the memorial services and present wreaths to honor those who perished at Pearl Harbor. There are still a number of survivors of the attack who also manage to attend these ceremonies although they have started to diminish in recent years.

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The National Park Service operates a visitor center which is opened daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This center is the required first stop for everyone intending to tour the Memorial which is located on the shoreline overlooking Pearl Harbor directly off Kamehameha Highway. At the visitor's center is a bookstore and souvenir shop where books, postcards, and other memorabilia of Pearl Harbor can be purchased. An American flag which has been hoisted at the Arizona Memorial is also sold at the souvenir shop. Beside is a small museum showing photographs of Pearl Harbor during the bombing and a replica of the USS Arizona.

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The lawn behind the visitor center provides an excellent view of Ford Island and Battleship Row. No reservations are taken and all tours are free of charge and on a "first-come, first-served" basis. The visitor center and Memorial are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's days.


The USS Missouri, also known as the "Mighty Mo," was the biggest and last of four Iowa-class battleships that were built during World War II. Weighing in at 48,000 tons, it measures almost 900 feet from bow to stern which is almost three footbal fields in length, and is more than 200 feet in height. Each link in the 1,200-foot long chains of her two anchors weighs over 100 pounds. Seventeen inches of solid steel protect her citadel from which the ship's operations were directed during battle. However, the size of her place in American naval history is far greater than her physical size.

The USS Missouri was launched on January 29, 1944, commissioned on June 11 of the same year, and reported for duty in the Third Fleet in Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve 1944. The ship was christined at her launching by Mary Margaret Truman, daughter of President Harry S. Truman who was then a senator from Missouri. She became the flagship for Admiral William Halsey and was an important part of the war in the Pacific. It went on to become one of the U.S. Navy's most decorated ships, with three battle stars for World War II service and another five for its service during the Korean War.

The battleship assisted in the bombing raids over Tokyo and providing firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and shelled the Japanese home islands of Hokkaido and Honshu. On the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 as it anchored in Tokyo Bay, General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan's surrender, thereby ending World War II. The signing of the surrender document was done in the presence of 11 Japanese dignitaries. Gen. MacArthur signed for all the Allies, and Admiral Nimitz signed for the United States.

In the 1950s, USS Missouri fought in the Korean War and was decommissioned into the United States Navy reserve fleets. In 1986 she was modernized, recommissioned, and sent on a tour around the world. She was sent to the Persian Gulf in 1991 to protect American-flagged oil tankers near the straits of Hormuz, and she launched 28 tomahawk missles against Iraqi positions in Baghdad and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

The battleship was decommissioned a final time on March 31, 1992, having received a total of eleven battle stars. She was removed from the Navy's ship registry, enabling her to be donated by the Navy for preservation as a memorial museum. Her final operational mission was to sail into Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1991, the 50th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War II, when she played an important role in the commemoration of that event.

The USS Missouri Memorial Association was selected by the Navy to care for the "Mighty Mo" and on May 4, 1998, title to the ship was transferred to the association, and the "Mighty Mo" was brought to its permanent home in Pearl Harbor. A massive effort by volunteers was undertaken to refurbish the ship. It was cleaned and repainted. Her deck planks were refinished, her brass polished, and a number of her interior spaces were cleaned in time for her opening. Over 4,000 volunteers worked hard to turn the Mighty Mo into a floating time machine filled with exhibits, activities and stories of the 2,500 crewmen and their daily lives aboard the battleship.

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The USS Missouri now berthed on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor, serves as an interactive museum and memorial at Pearl Harbor. She is anchored next to the USS Arizona, the two ships marking the beginning and the end of World War II. The USS Missouri Memorial opened January 29, 1999 and is one of the most popular attractions in Honolulu. One cannot fail to be deeply moved by the historic significance of this great ship. In its first year, "Mighty Mo" welcomed more than 400,000 visitors.

A number of guided tours are available at the Memorial. The basic tour is a one-hour introduction to the ship's layout, systems and armaments. Included is a narrative of the ship's history as well as access to its Combat Engagement Center. Another tour includes exclusive footage of the surrender ceremony in Japan. On the Surrender Deck of the USS Missouri, the visitor experiences history come to life, hearing the unmistakable voice of Gen. MacArthur and seeing the precise spot where the surrender occurred and the world's bloodiest war came to an end.

Visitors can see the wardroom, officers quarters, the spot on the fantail where a Japanese attack plane penetrated the USS Missouri's anti-aircraft defenses and crashed into the deck, setting the ship on fire. One can stand in awe of the USS Missouri's 16-inch guns. Each of those guns is 65 feet long, weighs 116 tons, and can accurately fire a 2,700 pound shell 23 miles in 50 seconds. Visitors can also get to enjoy light refreshments in the Captain's Cabin and see the Flag Bridge where Admiral Frederick Halsey stood during the final days of World War II. The USS Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


This is a historic landmark complex consisting of a Waterfront Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine (SS-287), and a 10,000-square foot Museum.

The Waterfront Memorial stands in silent tribute to the more than 3,500 American submariners and 52 submarines that have been reported lost during the second World War. It is located next to the Arizona Memorial Visitor Center.

Docked nearby is the USS Bowfin, a World War II submarine which was nicknamed the "Pearl Harbor Avenger." The submarine provides an opportunity for visitors to go below deck and wind through the narrow compartments where the 80-man crew worked, ate and slept while on patrol during WWII and the Korean War. Visitors are given a cassette player that narrates their tour as they explore this historic submarine.

The USS Bowfin is a Balao-class submarine of the United States Navy named for the bowfin, a fresh water fish of the eastern United States. It was laid down by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at Kittery, Maine on July 23, 1942 and was launched on December 7, 1942, exactly one year after Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. The Bowfin was commissioned on May 1, 1943 with Commander Joseph H. Willingham in command.

The Bowfin went on to sink 44 enemy ships during the course of her extraordinary war patrols. She completed nine war patrols operating from the Netherlands East Indies to the Sea of Japan and the waters south of Hokkaido. Bowfin sank 15 merchantmen and one frigate for a total of 68,032 tons. She also shared credit with Aspro (SS-309) for a 4,500-ton merchantman. Bowfin was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her 2nd offensive war patrol and the Navy Unit Commendation for her 6th offensive war patrol and eight battle stars for her involvement in World War II.

The USS Bowfin operated with the Atlantic Fleet until it was decommissioned on February 12, 1947 and placed in reserve at New London in Connecticut. She was recommissioned on July 27, 1951 and was decommissioned again on April 22, 1954 and placed in reserve at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She was recommissioned on January 10, 1960 and served as a pierside trainer at Seattle, Washington. She was redesignated an Auxiliary Research Submarine in 1962. On December 1, 1971, Bowfin was decommissioned for the final time and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register.

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Acquired from the US Navy in 1979 by the Pacific Fleet Memorial Association, the USS Bowfin was later brought to Pearl Harbor in 1980. It was officially opened to the public as a "museum ship" in April 1, 1981. The Bowfin was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 by the Department of the Interior.

The 10,000-square foot Museum nearby exhibits a variety of submarine-related artifacts, including weapon systems, battle flags, photographs, and submarine models. It provides an extensive look at the fascinating history of submarines from the first daring attempt in 1776 to use a submersible in warfare to the feats of today's nuclear submarines. Also on exhibit is the Purple Heart Medal that was awarded to crewmember Reid Lee who was the lone Bowfin casualty of war. In addition, visitors can watch submarine-related videos in the mini theater of the museum. The theater has a collection of more than 50 episodes of "The Silent Service," a classic 1960 television series that based its stories on actual World War II patrol events.

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The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

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