Sunday, 7 July 2013

Pearl Harbour

The US armed forces has always had a large presence on Hawaii - and so you can't escape the military here - they built the highways, they still have a military R&R hotel on Waikiki at Fort Derussey!

However it felt appropriate to visit the memorials at Pearl Harbour rather than just focusing on hedonism whilst on Oahu - this is a big part of Hawaii's history and important for them in becoming part of the USA (Statehood only came after the Second World War in 1959 - BTW Hawaii also has ties with the UK hence the Union Jack in their state flag).

We visited the USS Missouri which is famous for being where WW2 was ended when the Japanese signed the surrender 

The Missouri was a battle ship - they were pretty much made obsolete by the Second World War, when the aircraft carriers took over, however this one was in active service as recently as Desert Storm.

We also visited the USS Arizona memorial - this is directly above where the Arizona sank with 400 men on board after the Pearl Harbour attack - it's their mausoleum as well as their memorial and those survivors recently deceased have also been interred here.

Parts of the gun turrets breaking the water line - the rest of the boat is under the water directly below the memorial - a very poignant place to visit.

We also did a drive by of the Punchbowl cemetery - the national memorial cemetery of the Pacific.

The US army museum at Fort Derussey is really good at explaining the impact of the attack on the population of Hawaii and also the reaction of the Hawaiian citizens of Japanese origin - they formed the AJA - Japanese American battalions and were highly decorated for their extraordinary accomplishments at a time when the nation questioned their loyalty.

A really interesting day learning about Hawaii's history.

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