Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

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Pearl Harbor was originally known for its stocks of pearl oysters. Mudslides from the surrounding hills denuded by overgrazing, eventually wiped out the oysters. But most people know it for the Japanese attack that started at 7.55 AM on the morning of 7 December 1941.

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is the most visited sight in Hawaii. It receives some 1.5 million visitors annually, most of which come to learn more about the surprise Japanese attack and to pay their respects to the 2335 US servicemen who died as a result. The USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the victims and the facts that the US joined WWII. The 55 m (185 feet) floating memorial perches directly over the Arizona, the huge warship that took a direct hit in the early morning fighting and sank within 9 minutes. It was the first of 21 US ships that were either sunk or damaged during the two-hour attack. Some 1177 sailors died in that attack alone. The wreck still rests in the shallow waters where it was sunk by Japanese fighter planes on 7 December 1941.

The memorial is administered by the National Parks Service, which maintains the onshore visitors center and its museum and theater. The park service's 75 minute program includes a documentary film on the attack, followed by a boat ride to the memorial. Everything is free.

Off nearby Ford Island is the USS Missouri, the WWII battleship that saw the formal surrender of the Japanese on its deck on 2 September 1945. The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park includes a decommissioned sub and a museum detailing the interesting history of submarines.

The peaceful Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area covers 134 hectares (334 acres) of park land and features a 17th-century Hawaiian medicinal temple.

The Arizona Memorial visitors' center is off Highway 99 (Kamehameha Highway), on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. It is about 15 km (9 miles) west of Honolulu via H-1. Shuttle buses connect it with all the major Waikiki hotels.

Pearl Harbor is some 10 km northwest of the center of Honolulu.

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