Pearl Harbor was and is a must-see when visiting the island of Oahu. In my mind, I always thought the naval base was closer to the ocean, but its not. I never really thought about it before and seeing it in person really brought to light just how they truly thought the Bay was safe from attack.

We arrived early, upon a recommendation, to get tickets. The tickets for the memorial are free, but once they are out, that’s it for the day. There are other tickets available for purchase to tour other memorials while there, however, we opted for the free one.

At the time of your tour, everyone is escorted into a small theater where a documentary is shown on the events leading up to December 7 and the aftermath of that horrific day. I felt like it was a non-biased, fact-driven documentary and the events were laid out in a clear manner. Some facts I wasn’t aware of and thought it was well done.

Upon exiting the theater, you are directed to a small boat and given further instructions. Everyone remained quiet and somber as we boarded the boat. Half-way to the Arizona Memorial, the boat came to a stop and the National Anthem was played. Once the song ended, the engines started up again and we continued onto the Arizona.

Visiting the memorial was humbling and gave a sense of patriotic pride at what America had gone through during this specific period in her history. On the back wall of the structure are the names and ranks of every sailor who was killed on that day. A guide lists off the numbers of sets of brothers involved in the attack. I believe there was also a father/son duo on board at the time. It was sobering and chilling to think about.

Off the sides of the memorial are the visible remains of the mighty Arizona and oil that has risen to the surface.

Across the bay is a fleet of ships being worked on and the contrast was noticeable. The past of the Arizona and all the sadness with it on one side while just across the bay sat the future of the naval ships, massive in structure and strength.

Pearl Harbor was something I’ve always wanted to visit and I am so glad I had the opportunity to do so. I felt like everything was very well done and the amount of respect for those who gave their lives present during the tour was impressive. ¬†One could spend all day reading everything and doing the other tours.