The WWII-era rallying cry ʻRemember Pearl Harbor!’ that once mobilized an entire nation dramatically resonates on Oʻahu. It was here that the surprise Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, hurtled the US into war in the Pacific. Every year about 1.6 million tourists visit Pearl Harbor’s unique collection of war memorials and museums, all clustered around a quiet bay where oysters were once farmed.
The iconic offshore shrine at the sunken USS Arizona doesn’t tell the only story. Nearby are two other floating historical sites: the USS Bowfin submarine, aka the ʻPearl Harbor Avenger,’ and the battleship USS Missouri, where General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender at the end of WWII. Together, for the US, these military sites represent the beginning, middle and end of the war. To visit all three, as well as the Pacific Aviation Museum, dedicate at least a day.