Pearl Harbor National Memorial - History and Facts | History Hit

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Hawaii, United States

Harry Sherrin

07 Dec 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a 21-acre commemorative site on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It’s home to a number of different Pearl Habor monuments and museums, including the USS Utah and USS Oklahoma memorials as well as the USS Arizona. 

History of Pearl Harbor National Memorial 

On 7 December 1941, Japanese forces attacked the US military base of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Fearing US intervention against Japanese imperial expansion in Asia, Japan launched the attack, hoping to decimate America’s naval forces in the Pacific. In total, 2,043 Americans were killed, including 68 civilians.  

19 US Navy ships were also destroyed during the bombardment, including 8 battleships. Many of the memorials found in the Pearl Habor National Memorial today are dedicated to the lives lost onboard these vessels.  

In 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the construction of a memorial to the sunken USS Arizona. The public memorial was initially overseen by the US Navy, but was handed over to the National Park Service in 1980.  

The NPS’ authority was later expanded, in 2018, to encompass the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, the USS Utah memorial and the USS Oklahoma memorial, as well as various other significant sites.  

Pearl Harbor National Memorial today 

Today, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the Pacific War and to commemorating those killed during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  

Visitors to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial can visit a range of different sites and monuments. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is a good place to start for those keen to discover the tragic history of the attack as well as the wider conflict in the Pacific.  

The USS Arizona memorial is dedicated to the 1,177 individuals who died during the bombardment of the ship. It floats about the wreck of the Arizona, which can be seen through a hole in the floor of the memorial.  

The site also contains memorials to the USS Utah and the USS Oklahoma, as well as the mooring quays F6, F7 and F8 and a number of old officers’ bungalows on Ford Island. 

Pearl Harbor National Memorial is the most visited location on the island of Oahu.  

Getting to Pearl Harbor National Memorial 

Pearl Harbor National Memorial is northwest of Honolulu on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. By car, set your GPS for Pearl Harbor Visitor Centre. From Honolulu Airport, take H1-West or HI-92 West and then HI-99 W. Turn left on to Arizona Memorial Place, and head towards the Visitor Centre car park.  

Alternatively, take the number 20 bus or number 42 bus from Waikiki to the Visitor Centre.  

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Pearl Harbor Monuments and Museums

Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 took the lives of 2,403 Americans and triggered America's entry into World War Two. Here are 9 commemorative monuments and museums you can visit in Hawaii.