You can learn all about the December 7th Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor through various articles on the internet and encyclopedia entries or you can go straight to the source and explore the harbor itself. The Hawaiian lagoon harbor on Oahu island, just west of Honolulu, was the site of the devastating attack that drew the United States of America into World War II, and thanks to the standing museum and welcoming center of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, travelers are given an in-depth look of the attack and the heroes that emerged from it.
Welcome to Pearl Harbor
Once nothing more than a lagoon turned United States Naval base, the area of Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii is now one of the most important locations in American history. At the center of it all, giving travelers their access to the 1941 invasion is the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
Located just off of Kamehameha Highway, next to Halawa Stream and the harbor, the center acts as the gateway to many aspects of Pearl Harbor and Ford Island, where travelers can view the USS Oklahoma Memorial and Pacific Aviation Museum.
The infamous day in 1941 left behind a wake of destruction that is memorialized in the historical relics speckled throughout the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Opened in 2010, the visitor center marked the opening of the all-encompassing World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and, since then, has been stocked with authentic memorabilia that chronicles the tales of Pearl Harbor and the events that transpired from the attack.
Two different exhibits – “Road to Victory” and “Attack” – promise an extensive look into Pearl Harbor’s past, most notably the attack and its part in World War II. A 23-minute documentary at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater displays footage of the attack while historic photographs, personal memorabilia of the fallen, and antiquities and artifacts that tell their own stories about December 7th and the harbor itself.
Beyond the Exhibits
Beyond the two exhibits, the Pearl harbor Visitor Center also plays host to the Remembrance Circle, a tribute to the military and civilian bodies that fell during the attack on December 7th. A 3D map of Oahu island gives a look at the targets struck by the Japanese, accompanied by a gold-lettered Medal of Honor wall.
Travelers that want a full history of Pearl Harbor and World War II will enjoy getting lost in the 120 different books available in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center bookstore. Posters, audio recordings, and other tokens let the biggest history buffs take home a part of Oahu and Pearl Harbor’s past.
Access to History
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center acts as the port of harbor for an extensive journey into the past. Tickets to the USSArizona and USS Missouri Memorials, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum can be purchased in the center. The visitor center is chock full of its own Pearl Harbor anecdotes, but it’s just the start of an incredible historical trek that no school could ever provide.