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When the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared it as “a date which will live in infamy.” Three-quarters of a century later, some 1.8 million people visit the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument annually to honor those who lost their lives that Sunday and other heroes who fought for America’s freedom across the globe.
No doubt 2016’s final visitor count will surge from the bevy of public events commemorating the 75th anniversary of this historic day. Aside from a Waikiki parade and military-themed movies shown on the beach, events will take place at Pearl Harbor Historic Sites such as the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and Battleship Missouri Memorial.
Since crowds are expected through the holidays, count on sites to be busier than usual. Some 1,300 free Arizona Memorial tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis from 7 a.m. daily at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Or, reserve tickets online up to two months prior for $1.50 each at Recreation.gov.
While accounts of Dec. 7 typically focus on what the U.S. Military endured, civilian citizens were also thrust into chaos. Bishop Museum (BishopMuseum.org) brings these unsung stories to the forefront in its original “Homefront Hawaii: Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration” exhibit, on display through March 1, 2017.
Visitors witness how the attack and eventual war transformed Hawaii via artifacts and rarely viewed archival images of explosion-damaged Honolulu streets, a fortified Waikiki Beach armed with barbed wire and a bomb shelter at Iolani Palace.
Another option is a sentimental journey to Home of the Brave Brew Pub & Museum (Brewseums.com) in Kakaako. Showcasing the largest private collection of WWII artifacts and memorabilia in the Pacific, the family-owned and -operated gallery also brings the 1940s alive at its Wiki Waki Woo Tiki Bar, which serves craft beer brewed on-site.