by: Princess Diva
|American Flag on USS Arizona Memorial|
We knew that while we were in Hawaii, we wanted to see Pearl Harbor (it’s the teacher in me…we have to do something educational on just about every vacation). I was SO glad that we took the time to do this excursion; I could never have imagined the effect Pearl Harbor would have on my children.
We went around the small bus and introduced ourselves and told why we were at Aulani. Our driver was full of great information and facts about the island and Pearl Harbor…did you know that 23 sets of brothers died aboard the USS Arizona and that 9 quarts of oil spill from the ship every day…70 years later! She told us how our tour would work once we arrived. She also gave the boys Jr. Ranger activity books to complete during their visit to Pearl Harbor (bring pencils…we had to search high and low to find some for the boys). Our bus parked and our driver walked in with us and gave us our tickets. You cannot bring in any bags or purses…including diaper bags. There are lockers available if you need them. We would have two hours before we needed to be back at the bus (this is not nearly enough time to see everything).
|Disney Brothers filling in their Jr. Ranger guides|
The movie (about 30 minutes) explains what was happening in WWII and how the attack on Pearl Harbor drew Americans into the war. Use your judgment with your children (Disney Baby started to get antsy, and this hits on some sensitive materials…we thought that it was important for the Disney Brothers to see). As we left the theater and boarded our boat to take us to the memorial, I noticed that Oldest Disney Brother was crying. We asked what was wrong, and he told us that he couldn’t understand why someone would do something like that to other people. He said he couldn’t imagine having his family experience something so horrible. This turned into such a great teaching moment…not to mention a proud mommy moment).
|USS Missouri and USS Arizona Memorial|
|What is left of one of the USS Arizona gun towers|
Remind children to whisper on the memorial…this is a very emotional and solemn place. We slowly walked through the memorial, trying to take in all that we could. We read the wall of names of each person that lost their lives that day. Did you know that survivors of the USS Arizona can choose their final resting place along side their shipmates…divers will place their ashes beneath on of the Arizona’s gun turrets?
|Names of servicemen that lost their lives|
I believe that everyone needs to experience this place, but do NOT take a tour (there has been a second tour that was added to the Aulani excursion options that allows a little more time); explore it on your own. This means that you will need to take a cab, rent a car, or call a car service to get there and back. The Battleship Missouri Memorial is available to tour, as well as the USS Bowfin Submarine. Neither of which we were able to see because we didn’t have time.
There is a snack shop that offers snacks, drinks, and sandwiches which is nice since the park encourages guests to pack light. Strollers are also allowed within the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (the name of the national park where the memorials are all located), but they have to be left outside of the theater. They are not allowed in the theater or on the boats to the USS Arizona Memorial.
|Disney Brothers after getting their ranger badges|