We didn't want to be in Honolulu and not visit Pearl Harbor. So we joined a small bus full of tourists that left very early one morning. The goal was to get there first thing; the USS Arizona Memorial features long lines and waits.
While we waited our turn, the girls had their picture taken with a Pearl Harbor survivor. A number of these gentlemen volunteer at the memorial and are eager to sign autographs, pose for pictures and share their stories. That morning, the man signing autographs was Alfred Benjamin Kame'eiamoku Rodrigues, a Pearl Harbor survivor. he was born and raised in Hawaii and in the Navy at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
There's a museum, a museum shop, and an introductory film before the boat takes you out to the site of the Arizona Memorial. The Memorial itself is small and intense and moving. There's not much to say except that it touches you.
Afterwards, we toured the USS Missouri, now anchored next to the Memorial as a Museum. This is a fascinating ship to visit. She served in both World War II and the first Gulf War and includes examples of naval warfare technology and living from several generations.
I was in picture-taking heaven. There were red phones, alarms, compasses, and lots of other cool things.
Pearl Harbor is well worth a visit. It is an important part of our history and fascinating to a history buff. But get there early.