May 25, 2017
Remember those who served with a Memorial Day Visit to Pearl Harbor
Originally called Decoration Day when it was established in 1868, Memorial Day is the day to remember and honor those who lost their lives fighting in the American Armed Forces. While Waterloo, New York was officially recognized as the birthplace of Memorial Day, in May 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson, several other cities claim they are the birthplace. What cannot be disputed is the importance of recognizing those who gave their lives in service to the United States, including those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.
Attack on Pearl Harbor
In Hawaii, it doesn’t much matter where Memorial Day started but we do have our own place where we go to reflect on this special day. It’s Pearl Harbor - where, on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Air Service launched a surprise attack against our naval base located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Up until then, the United States had not officially entered World War II. It was thought to be a European affair and we stayed out - until the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese destroyed nearly 20 United States naval vessels, including eight battleships, and 300 aircraft. More than 2,000 American servicemen died in the attack and an additional 1,000 were wounded. The day after the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan and so began America’s involvement in World War II.
Memorial Day Visit to Pearl Harbor
If you’re in Honolulu, we recommend visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. The exhibit opens at 7:00am and 1,300 tickets are given away daily on a first come - first served basis, according to the official website. The exhibit is built over the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which is the final resting place for many of the more than 1,100 crew of the battleship - nearly half of all lives lost on that fateful day.
Tours are available every 15 minutes from 7:30am to 3:00pm daily and include a 23-minute documentary followed by a ride on a Navy-operated boat where you can experience the USS Arizona Memorial. It’s just 75 minutes and we think it’s an amazing opportunity to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in service to our nation.
Whether you’re visiting Honolulu on Memorial Day or another time of year, we recommend a stop at Pearl Harbor.
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