*Originally posted on July 11, 2011 – Reposted today in honor of the service men and women who lost their lives in the Dec 7th attacks and thereafter*
It may be a bit reverent for Monday, but I wanted to talk to you about my experience visiting Pearl Harbor. I had a family member who was stationed at Pearl Harbor prior to the attack, luckily my grandfather was shipped to another port…just five months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
We arrived at 6:30, we wanted to beat the tour buses and we succeeded (yay!) our reward was being a part of the first group that was taken out to the USS Arizona Memorial. We had an hour to walk the grounds, I highly recommend getting to Pearl Harbor early. We were able to see the grounds while it was still quite and somber. We viewed the torpedos, guns and ammunition used and the USS Bowfin (a battle sub) before heading into a room to watch a 20 minute movie with real pictures and footage of the attack. I lost it many times, these men were really just 17-19 year old kids surprised by Japan and losing their lives (trying not to tear up right now), it truly put into perspective what it was like.
We were the first to step inside of the memorial that morning, this was amazing, it gave Wes and I a precious 20 seconds to pay respect to the fallen soldiers. Inside to the back there is a wall that has all of the soldiers who lost their lives.
What I didn’t understand all of the chatter, people have no respect. This isn’t a tourist attraction this is a memorial, you wouldn’t be blabbering about dinner or the luau you went to at a cemetery would you? Please be respectful if you come to Pearl Harbor and shut your mouth…
My emotions took over when I looked over the side and saw the sunken ships remains. I lost is and teared up.
After touring the memorial (You get five minutes) we went through all of the museums. I again had emotional moments…everything in the museum really brings to life what happened that day.
My Tips for Pearl Harbor:
- Don’t bring a bag, you can not take it inside. There are lockers but a very minimal amount. Bring only your camera and wallet.
- TURN your phone off. Lady GaGa going off during this emotional movie…no bueno.
- If you need a bag once inside you can buy something from the gift shop and use that bag.
- GIVE them donations, this is free for you not for them, help out when you can.
- Get there early…I’m talking a little before 6:30 (remember it rains in the mornings so a light jacket is a good idea)
- Be reverent. Most people were chatty kathy’s and it really takes away from the feeling of peace, joy, sorrow and the rest of the emotions you will experience.
- Don’t go in a tour. If Wes and I had to be a part of the tour I don’t think we would have enjoyed it. You don’t get the freedom to look around. Parking was easy (we should have rented a car) but a cab ride from downtown Waikiki roundtrip with tip was $80.00
-When you are leaving the memorial sit in the back of the ferry for amazing not obstructed pictures and views.