This is President Barack Obama’s last vacation in Hawaii as a sitting president, and he’s closing it out with a historic visit to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The actual visit isn’t atypical, but, this year, the person with whom he’s traveling is!
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor Visitor Center will be closed Tuesday due to a visit by President Barack Obama and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the National Park Service said. The closure also will apply to the adjacent USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, according to the park service.
“Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and the Battleship Missouri Memorial will be open, and alternate shuttle arrangements to the attractions on Ford Island have been made for guests,” the park service said in a release. “Visitors who wish to access the attractions on Ford Island will be picked up at Aloha Stadium instead of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Directional signs will be in place.”
The Pacific Aviation Museum will be open as usual, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Battleship Missouri Memorial will be open during limited hours, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“We encourage the public to visit our partner sites on Ford Island on the 27th, and hope that visitors will join us another day in the week to experience the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park,” Jacqueline Ashwell, superintendent of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, told the paper. “Please remember that all of these sites will be closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25th.”
Visitors who already have reservations to visit the USS Arizona Memorial on Tuesday will be contacted to reschedule their visits, the park service said. However, visitors who made reservations to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii through companies, such as Hawaii Aloha Travel should contact the provider for information on how their visit might be rescheduled. Visitors who have made reservations through recreation.gov may come to the visitor center on either Monday or Wednesday and show their reservation at the ticket counter to get a ticket for the next available USS Arizona program, the newspaper reports.
For visitors who made reservations for audio tours through recreation.gov, those reservations will be honored on Monday or Wednesday, or they can request a refund for the audio tour by calling 1-888-448-1474, the park service told newspaper reporters.
The inconvenience may be a bother for some visitors, but the visit marks an historic event: This is only the second time a sitting Japanese Prime Minister has made such a visit. And, it appears the gravity of the event isn’t lost on Prime Minister Abe.
“We must never repeat the horror of war,” Mr. Abe told reporters last Monday. “I want to express that determination as we look to the future, and at the same time send a message about the value of U.S.-Japanese reconciliation.”
For visitors shut-out Tuesday, you should know this visit will go down in the history books! So, if nothing else, make sure you keep your ticket stub!