World War II Valor In The Pacific Monument renamed as Pearl Harbor National Memorial
Named for the abundance of pearls that were found within its protected waters, Pearl Harbor is the largest natural harbor in Hawaii and Oahu’s top visitor destination that welcomes some one million visitors annually.
It’s widely known that on Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese Empire bombers sank or destroyed 21 Navy vessels that represented most of the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at the base. Some 2,400 people were also killed in the attack. Action from what U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt described as “a date which will live in infamy” catapulted the United States into World War II.
Since 2008, many of the memorials and exhibits at the U.S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters have been administered by the U.S. National Park Service under the blanket moniker of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. President George W. Bush applied the lengthy and often confusing tag to the NPS unit that had previously been known simply as the USS Arizona National Memorial.
Signed into law in March 2019, the monument has been renamed as Pearl Harbor National Memorial. The Visitor Center, USS Utah and USS Oklahoma memorials, plus parts of Ford Island and Battleship Row, will remain part of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.
The new name reflects a desire to connect to a greater degree with the familiarity of “Pearl Harbor” history. The former Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor on Ford Island also underwent a name change to Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Plan Your Day
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a battlefield like Yorktown, Gettysburg and the beaches of Normandy. Visit all the sites and gain a better understanding of the attack and America’s role in World War II. The USS Arizona Memorial is the main attraction but there are several other sites to see and each can take an hour or two to fully appreciate.
Five ways to salute U.S. military history at Pearl Harbor
1) USS Arizona Memorial
Marks the resting place of most of the 1,177 Sailors and Marines killed on the battleship Arizona.Currently closed for repairs to restore walk-on access, the USS Arizona Memorial is expected to reopen this fall. Visitors still need a free ticket for the scheduled program that starts with a 25-minute documentary at the PHVC Theater on the Pearl Harbor attack and is followed by a Navy-operated harbor tour of Battleship Row and the area around the USS Arizona Memorial instead of docking at the memorial itself.
The USS Arizona Memorial's floating dock was reinstalled on July 10, 2019, and will be followed by installation of the Seaflex mooring system. Repairs remain on schedule for reopening with boat rides to the memorial spanning the sunken ship in the fall of 2019 (no specific date yet).
Only 1,300 free boat tickets are issued by the National Park Service each day. Tickets are available to walk-in visitors on a first-come, first-served basis or can be reserved in advance online at www.recreation.gov or www.pacifichistoricparks.org or by phone at: 1-877-444-6777.
2) Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
Take a quick ride on the free shuttle to Ford Island and experience a National Historic Landmark, ranked "One of the Top 10 Aviation Attractions in the Nation" by TripAdvisor and is also an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
Diorama depicting a Japanese, Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” (Fighter)
The site is home to
our nation’s only aviation battlefield. Changing little since the 1941
attack, the hangars that house the museum still bear strafe marks,
bullet holes and bomb craters.
Two former World War II seaplane hangars that survived the attack house a collection of over 40 aircraft and dioramas depicting aviation in the Pacific which include a Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” (Fighter), Curtiss P-40E Warhawk (Fighter), Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat (The Navy's Front-Line Fighter During WWII), Douglas SBD Dauntless (Dive Bomber. Best remembered as the bomber that delivered the fatal blows to Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway), the wreckage of a Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress (Multi-engine Bomber), and many more!
Hangar 79. An 80,000 square foot seaplane hangar which is still riddled with bullet holes left by the Japanese attack.
Fun for the whole family. Take to the skies in the museum’s state-of-the-art, Fighter Ace, 360-degree Flight Simulators which can roll, somersault, spin and loop as you and your copilot take the controls! Visit www.pearlharboraviationmuseum.org for ticket prices and more information.
3) USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
Dedicated to the preservation of USS Bowfin and submarine artifacts that represent the history of U.S. submarines. Tour the World War II submarine, which survived nine war patrols, and learn what life in the “Silent Service” was like for her 80-man crew.
The the USS Bowfin (SS-287) and monuments to each of the 52 U.S. submarines lost during World War II
Launched on December 7, 1942, exactly one year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Bowfin (SS-287) is a WWII submarine that earned the nickname “Pearl Harbor Avenger.” The accomplished sub claimed the sinking of 44 vessels on its nine war patrols. Don’t forget to see the many outdoor exhibits and the memorial that features monuments to each of the 52 U.S. submarines and more than 3,500 American submariners lost during World War II. Visit www.bowfin.org for ticket prices and more information.
4) USS Oklahoma Memorial
Dedicated on Dec. 7, 2007, the dramatic USS Oklahoma Memorial rests on Ford Island near the site where its namesake battleship capsized during the Pearl Harbor attack. Second in casualties to the USS Arizona, the memorial honors the 429 Sailors who lost their lives aboard the ship.
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Learn about the USS Oklahoma Memorial in the first of a new web series featuring Park Ranger Jason Ockrassa. Jason will take you to significant sites all over the island of Oahu and explain exactly what happened in those locations during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, and beyond. Sites include Hickam Field, Ford Island, Wheeler Field, Schofield Barracks, the location of the Opana Mobile Radar Station, all the sites for each of the battleships and their memorials, and many more. For many of these, Jason will feature a personal story of someone who died in the conflict or survived to tell their story. If there's an area of the island you have questions about and/or would like Jason to feature, please let us know in the comments below. #MomentsofInfamy #PearlHarbor
5) Battleship Missouri Memorial
Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the “Mighty Mo” completes the WWII journey from the Dec. 7 1941 attack to Imperial Japan’s ultimate surrender aboard the “Surrender Deck” of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.
Take a quick ride on the free shuttle to Ford Island and experience the last and most celebrated battleship ever built. The 887-ft. Iowa class vessel had a career spanning five decades and three wars: WWII, Korea and Operation Desert Storm.
Stand on the “Surrender Deck” in the exact spot where the Japanese surrendered on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
Be sure to visit www.Recreation.gov for USS Arizona Memorial ticket details/updates and for information on touring the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.