The Bus ride there was going to be almost an hour, and if you read the website, it says to get there early if you want to get tickets to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, because it's a first come, first serve basis and they only have 2000 tickets. I was up at 4:30 and got Ryan up at 5. We were at the stop before 6 AM, after eating a breakfast of champions: some pieces of beef jerky and an oatmeal bar (we had brought snacks from home for having to eat on the fly).
Finally, The Bus arrived, and there was a long line already- and it hadn't even opened yet! You aren't allowed to bring anything in with you- no purses, backpacks, camera bags (you can bring in your camera), etc, so we moved up quickly in the line as people either went back to their cars or went to the baggage check area. Then, Ryan got in line to get the tickets to go see the USS Arizona Memorial (those are free), and I stood in line to buy the tickets to see the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the USS Bowfin Submarine Memorial. Ryan's line moved quickly, and mine took forever, because people had to decide what attractions they wanted to see.
Our tickets for the Arizona weren't until 10:30 AM, and we had just over 2.5 hours to kill, so we caught the first shuttle to Ford Island to see the Mighty Mo. When you arrive, first you walk through an entry way of American flags- very cool. Then, you get your picture taken and they try to get you to buy it later (we didn't, but they give you this card so you can upload it to facebook and make it your profile picture).
|Isn't she big???|
|We weren't quite ready when they snapped the picture.|
|Impressive guns, eh?|
|This was where the Japanese surrendered to end the war|
|Looking down, you can see her standing guard over the Arizona|
After that, we headed on deck, where we were given a wonderful tour by a very knowledgeable lady. She told us many stories of the Mighty Mo, and after the tour was over, we were allowed to go above and below deck. The ship is huge! I think we spent an hour and a half on the ship and then caught the shuttle back. While we waited for our time for the Arizona, we toured some of Pearl Harbor- the "Road to War" and "Attack" galleries. Then we got in line for the Arizona.
Before you get onto the boat to the Arizona Memorial, you watch a 23 minute documentary video on the Pearl Harbor attack. Then you get on a navy shuttle boat to ride out to the Arizona. The boat ride out there was full, but everyone was silent as we approached the Memorial, even the smallest child was silent. I can't even explain the feeling that comes over you as you walk into the memorial. As you look down, you can see parts of the Arizona, and realizing how many men died trapped down there was overwhelming to me. One of the men who works at the memorial told us that some of the men who survived from the Arizona requested to be buried with their shipmates. They perform a special ceremony with their ashes in a special urn and a diver brings them to a designated part of the ship under the water. He said that there are currently 8 survivors remaining and 1 has requested to be buried there.
|Part of the USS Arizona|
|This is the entrance, where the boat drops you off.|
|The Shrine Room with the names of the 1,177 Sailors & Marines who perished on the USS Arizona. It also honors the survivors who have chosen to be interred with their shipmates.|
|The USS Arizona Memorial|
When we returned, we ate lunch and then toured the USS Bowfin Submarine, the "Pearl Harbor Avenger". I decided I would be too claustrophobic to be in a submarine, as I was very uncomfortable in the small space. I don't know how those guys do it, being so close to each other and sleeping in bunks basically on top of each other, I couldn't do it! After that we toured the Submarine Museum and then walked the rest of Pearl Harbor- they have a Remembrance Circle, and some other naval sites to see. Then, we caught The Bus back to Waikiki.
|The USS Bowfin Submarine|
|Ryan doing something with weapons...|
|Notice the bunkbeds on the right aren't even all the way down! No thank you!|