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Hawaii Pearl Harbor Visit Hits Home

One of my dad’s life-long dreams was to visit Pearl Harbor. He spent 20 years in the Air Force and retired as a Master Sargent. So on a balmy Sunday morning,we took a commuter flight to Honolulu from Kauai.

After a 20-minute documentary outlining the events that led to that dreadful day, we took a ferry to the memorial site of the USS Arizona Battleship.

Having been hit by a 1,760 pound armor-piercing bomb, the USS Arizona sank in less than nine minutes and lays at the bottom of the bay, the final resting place for the ship’s 1,177 crewmen. A 184-foot memorial structure spans the mid point of the sunken battleship and it was with great sadness, gratitude and humility that we stepped upon the memorial’s well-visited floors. 2,390 men lost their lives that day and the shrine room forever etches the heart-wrenching loss in our memories. The USS Arizona leaks about 9 quarts of oil a day; some survivors refer to them as “black tears.”

Dad, impassioned with the enormity of it all, wanted more information. He spent four hours wandering the tight quarters of the submarine USS Bowfin, walking the planks of Mighty Mo, and witnessing the battle scars on World War II hangers that house an authentic Japanese Zero at the Pacific Aviation Museum. I’m sure he would have loved to have a comrade-in-arms with him.

He chose to take the self-guided tour but if he could do it again, he would take a guided tour. I asked him if the audio tour would have worked and he said “Nah, you can’t ask questions.”

There are many tour combinations possible at Pearl Harbor. Current adult prices are listed, prices for children (4-11) are about half the adult price.

USS Arizona Memorial: Free

Battleship Missouri, Pacific Aviation Museum, and USS Bowfin: $42

Battleship Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum: $33

Battleship Missouri and USS Bowfin: $28

Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Bowfin: $23

Pacific Aviation Museum only: $15

USS Bowfin only: $10

Battleship Missouri only: $20

Open 7:30 am to 5 pm daily.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Oct 28, 2010