Pearl Harbor Survivor Laid To Rest Aboard USS Arizona

The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the country’s most unique and special national parks. Aside from the legacy of the Arizona’s story, the memorial is the only National Monument where survivors are additionally interred. Here is a bit about yesterday’s special ceremony.

An Arizona survivor’s final wish

Glen Lane was one of the very few remaining Arizona survivors. His passing in December was as hard as any family member passing, but his ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial yesterday was really something special. About 20 of Glen’s family members made their way to Pearl Harbor where Navy divers interred his ashes in one of the Arizona’s gun turrets. A color guard was present and Lane was honored with a 21-gun salute.

Continuing his service in the Navy for 30 years, Lane retired in Washington, but it was always his dream to return to his shipmates.  His final wish became a reality yesterday.

A Pearl Harbor survivor salutes and honors friends and shipmates who lost their lives in the attack

A Pearl Harbor survivor salutes and honors friends and shipmates who lost their lives in the attack.

An account from an infamous date

Lane was stationed aboard the USS Arizona as a seaplane radio operator when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was blown overboard during the explosion of the forward magazine. A swim to Ford Island seemed too far with his injuries, so he swam to the nearby USS Nevada instead. This did not turn out to be a safe idea as the Nevada was also attacked by Japanese planes.

In fact, he is possibly the only sailor who was aboard two different battleships attacked on that tragic day. After swimming over to the USS Nevada, it was struck by at least 6 bombs and 1 torpedo during the attack. The Nevada was ground off Ford Island and was later repaired and served in the Pacific Theater.

The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is one of the only places to meet a survivor from the attack on Pearl Harbor. Photo: @Lisascopee on Instagram

The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is one of the only places to meet a survivor from the attack on Pearl Harbor. Photo: @Lisascopee on Instagram

The remaining few

According to the National Parks Service only 13 Arizona survivors remain today, and another one has expressed his wishes to be reunited with his shipmates after his passing. Often present to sign autographs and share their stories, a visit to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is one of the rare ways to meet survivors from the attack.

Pacific Aviation Museum Honors Sacrifices Made By Soldiers

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As our country reflects on the lives lost in the attacks and in the “War on Terrorism” which has continued since, one of the most solemn and moving displays of remembrance can be seen at the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Rows and rows of combat boots setup in front of the Pacific Aviation Museum honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom.

Rows and rows of combat boots setup in front of the Pacific Aviation Museum honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom.

Approximately 4,000 combat boots are on display outside the Pacific Aviation Museum to honor the 6,596 lives lost in the middle east operations. The boots were gathered during a charity run organized by the Fisher House program at Tripler Army Medical Center. They are set up in rows upon rows with miniature American flags and pictures of the gallant men who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting and defending the freedom we all enjoy.

While no life lost in the cause to defend America is without honor, seeing the empty boots set up evokes a much more powerful reaction than just hearing the number of how many lives have been lost. To know that each pair of them represents someone, a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, and to see them set out is such a moving feeling.

Pearl Harbor's Pacific Aviation Museum is one of many places honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America's greater good.

Pearl Harbor’s Pacific Aviation Museum is one of many places honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America’s greater good.

The boots will be placed in storage until next year’s anniversary, and they are still collecting more. We salute everyone who has served overseas, and thank them and their families for all the sacrifices they have made and are continuing to make today.

Aloha!

Elvis Fans Donate to the USS Arizona Memorial

Over 50 years ago, Elvis Presley performed in Hawaii to help raise money to build the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. The event’s successful generated $64,000 for the memorial.

Now, fans of the King are organizing a massive fundraising effort to help with renovations at the memorial. Right now, the USS Arizona Memorial needs about $700,000 for repairs and renovations. That’s a big number, but Elvis fans have devoted themselves to giving back to the memorial just like their pop star did when he visited Hawaii in March of 1961.

Pacific Historic Parks and the Elvis Presley Enterprises have teamed up to raise funds for the improvements, according to KHON.

“We are very grateful of the Elvis Enterprises support,” said Jennifer Ujimori, Pacific Historic Parks, to KHON. “They’ve been such great contributors to our organization and our purpose with the memorial and maintaining the memorial.”

The USS Arizona Memorial Shrine Wall

The USS Arizona Memorial Shrine Wall

What kind of renovations are needed?

  • New floors
  • Updating the names on the Shrine Wall
  • General upkeep
  • Much more

How will they raise money?

The Elvis Presley fan club will hold an event in Graceland this August, and proceeds will go to Pacific Historic Parks.

In January 2013, the USS Arizona Memorial will host about 750 Elvis fans in celebration of their fundraising efforts and of Presley’s legacy with Pearl Harbor.

Elvis and his fans continue to support the memorial, just as the King did when he played at Pearl Harbor’s Bloch Arena to raise money in 1961.

Learn more

Read about the USS Arizona Memorial with this Hawaii Travel Guide.

Remember, tour Pearl Harbor today and experience history firsthand!

History of Ford Island

The fascinating history of Ford Island, named Moku’ume’ume by ancient Hawaiians, is not well known.

Located in the middle of Pearl Harbor on O’ahu and surrounded by water, Ford Island measures about 1.4 miles long and 0.70 miles wide. Moku’ume’ume means “Island of Attraction,” named after a game the ancient Hawaiians played gathering commoners and chiefs around a bonfire on the island, a game that could be described as mate swapping—it is important to note that it was only a game, and when it was all over, the players returned to their respective mates!

An influential Spaniard, Francisco de Paula Marin, took possession of the island around 1810 where he raised sheep, goats, hogs and rabbits to supply his ship provisioning business.

During the times of unsettled land ownership in the early Hawaiian Kingdom, ownership of the island passed to a trust formed for the son of prominent Honolulu physician, Dr. Seth Porter Ford. The Ford family took possession of theIslandaround 1885. In 1891 the island was sold to the John Li estate, an estate with vast landholdings in and around Pearl Harbor.

The Oahu Sugar Company leased Ford Island in 1899. They planted sugarcane on the island and built docks to facilitate the transfer of the sugar cane harvest by barge on the way to the sugar mill atWaipahu. In 1916 a couple of small parcels of land on the island were purchased from the Li estate by the War Department.

Ford Island as seen from space

Then, in 1917, the O’ahu Sugar Company surrendered its leasehold at which time the U.S. War Department completed the purchase of Ford Island to be used by both the U.S. Army and the Navy. The first contingent of Army personnel arrived in September of 1918. A year later the new station was officially designated “Luke Field,” named after an Army fighter pilot killed in action during World War I, and Luke Field developed into a sizeable base.

By 1937 the Army began to move its air force contingent across the bay to Hickam Field and by 1940 the move was completed, the Army presence on Ford Island had ended and the island became the exclusive property of the U.S.Navy.

Ford Island played an important role in the attack on Pearl Harbor because the bulk of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was anchored near the island.

Residents of Ford Island were unaware in the early morning of December 7, 1941 that they were right in the center of the Japanese attack onPearl Harbor, as they did not think much of the low flying planes over their homes until they recognize the rising sun painted on the planes. During the attacks, 33 of the 70 aircraft on Ford Island were destroyed.

The monuments to the USS Utah and USS Oklahoma, the Pacific Aviation Museum, are all on Ford Island as well as the USS Missouri, which was the site of the Japanese Surrender in World War II. Transportation to and from Ford Island was by ferry boat until 1998 when the Admiral Clarey Bridge was opened. The General Population was unable to visit the island without a military ID or being invited by a resident.

Admiral Clarey Bridge to Ford Island

Visiting Pearl Harbor and Ford Island is taking a walk through history, honoring the courageous soldiers that fought and perished that fateful Sunday morning in December of 1941.

(Acknowledgment: Some of the history in this article was obtained from an article by William H. Dorrance, published in the Historic Hawaii Foundation News, Dec. 1991 as well of other articles in the HHF website).

“Old Glory Honor Flight” Program Reunites Pearl Harbor Survivors With Fallen Comrades

A dream of many Pearl Harbor survivors is to return to the place which not only had a huge impact on their lives, but on our entire nation. The Old Glory Honor Flight program is committed to making that dream happen.

On a recent trip to Hawaii, Pearl Harbor survivors from Wisconsin were flown back to Oahu to visit the place where their lives changed forever. Some of them had returned on their own before, others had not returned since being stationed there. Either way, the voyage back stirred up a lot of memories. Luckily they were not alone as a member of their family is allowed to travel with them. The program is so dedicated to their mission, they were even able to provide caregivers to help out the loved ones left back home while sojourning “back to Pearl.”

After arriving at Pearl Harbor, the survivors were given a private tour of the USS Arizona Memorial where a special commemorative service was held.

Check out this video from the recent Wisconsin Old Glory Honor Flight:

The Old Glory Honor Flight is not just committed to giving Pearl Harbor survivors the chance to return to Hawaii. Their mission is to give all World War II survivors the chance to visit the monuments built in their honor.

So keep your eyes peeled for Pearl Harbor survivors on your next visit, and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with them either. Many are more than happy to share their stories and give you first-hand insight into what it was like to live through one of the most significant events in American history.

Come, join us on a trip to Pearl Harbor and experience all the tragedy and majesty of Pearl Harbor’s monuments.

Aloha!

July Pearl Harbor Events

Upcoming Pearl Harbor events include an arts and crafts-type showing of handmade quilts and a live Q&A discussion with expert pilots. Stop by the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island for these exciting events!

July 4, 2012

Home of the Brave Quilt Project

10:00am-2:00pm

See quilts being made and sign one that will be presented to the family of a fallen Hawaii soldier.

Free with paid admission to Pacific Aviation Museum

home of the brave quilt

Home of the Brave quilt

July 21, 2012

Hangar Talk

1:30pm-3:00pm

“When pilots aren’t flying, they’re talking about flying.” Join the pilots in a discussion, a different topic each session with Q & A following.

Free with paid museum admission

Coming up in August:

The Biggest Little Airshow

biggest little airshow

Join us at Ford Island for a free airshow at Pearl Harbor—it’s the 5th annual Biggest Little Airshow.

Biggest Little Airshow

Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, 2012

10:00am to 4:00pm

Free admission

Guests will see 100 aircraft—featuring real and remote controlled models—on the tarmac. For the children, the event features “candy bombings” over Luke Field. Plus, enjoy tours of Hangar 79 to see the new MiG Alley Korean War Exhibit, the Restoration Shop, the P-40 Kittyhawk and Flying Tigers Exhibit, helicopters, jets and aircraft displays in the 85,000 sq. ft. battle scarred hangar. There’s lots to see!

Free musical performances on both days at noon, featuring popular bands Loaded Dice and Wet on stage.

Don’t miss these great Pearl Harbor events!

USS Arizona Memorial Commemorates Battle Of Midway

On Monday, June 4, the USS Arizona Memorial held special ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. A special wreath-laying ceremony and a parading of the colors was joined by singing of the national anthem, and a flyover by vintage T-6 Texan planes.

Navy and Marine servicemen from the wreath-laying ceremony.

Navy and Marine service members in attendance for the wreath-laying ceremony. Photo: US Navy.

Both service members and civilians were present for the ceremony which honored those who fought in the Battle of Midway. Guest speaker Rear Adm. James Caldwell said “Today, we reflect on and celebrate the accomplishments of one of America’s greatest generations; those brave men and women that served our country in a time of war.”

Occurring only 6 months after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Midway signified the first major victory against Japan. While other battles had happened in different parts of the Pacific, none of them affected the Japanese offensive abilities like Midway.

An aerial view of Midway, located about 1,300 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor. Photo: Google Maps.

An aerial view of Midway, located about 1,300 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor. Photo: Google Maps.

Widely regarded as being the most important naval battle in the World War II Pacific Theater, the Battle of Midway also marked a major and decisive victory against the Imperial Japanese Navy, and a turning point in the Pacific.

The battle cost Japan heavy losses, including four aircraft carriers and a majority of their experienced pilots.  The victory was due in large part to Navy cryptology experts breaking Japan’s JN-25 code, and discovering the plan to ambush the American aircraft carriers at Midway Island.

With this information known, American ships were ready and waiting. The losses inflicted upon Japan severely reduced the Imperial Navy’s ability to launch naval offensives, which was their primary objective in their attack on Pearl Harbor.

With events like this and the Memorial Day celebrations, Pearl Harbor continues to be the symbol for remembering World War II. Join us on tour today and experience this incredible and historic place!

Aloha!

USS Arizona Memorial Seeking Donations For Repairs

The USS Arizona Memorial recently celebrated it’s 50th anniversary this past Memorial Day. Since it’s dedication on Memorial Day in 1962 over 50 million visitors have paid their respects to the gallant sailors entombed in the Arizona resting solemn in Pearl Harbor.

    Just some of the more than 50 million people who have visited the USS Arizona Memorial.

Just some of the more than 50 million people who have visited the USS Arizona Memorial.

 BOOK YOUR TOUR OF THE USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL TODAY!

With 100 million feet and 50 years of exposure to the elements, the USS Arizona Memorial is in need of repairs and restoration. An estimated $700,000 is needed for restoration plans, about $200,000 of which has already been raised. Festivities for the 50th anniversary celebrations were aimed at increasing the amount of money raised substantially.

As the standing reminder of the Japanese surprise attack of December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, it is important to restore  the USS Arizona Memorial for future generations to come so that they may firsthand witness the tragedies of humanity and forge a brighter future based on learning from the past.

Current renovation plans include both immediate and long-term projects. Immediate plans set to begin in June include fabricating and replacing entrance skylights, replacing all handrails, replacing corroded and rusting light fixtures, and concrete irregularities due to elemental wear.

Immediate plans are not expected to significantly impact visitors.

The marble wall and terrazzo steps in need of replacement in the Shrine Room.

The marble wall and terrazzo steps in need of replacement in the Shrine Room.

Long-term projects include replacing the marble wall inscribed with the sailors names who rest within the ship and the terrazzo steps of the shrine room. Replacing the flagpole attached to the main mast of the Arizona, fresh paint all around, and replacing a few existing walls are also on the long-term list.

While they are accepting direct donations, another way you can support the project is to purchase a souvenir from the gift shop located at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. With everything from historic movies and documentaries to refrigerator magnets, the gift shop has something for you and all of your loved ones back home.

Scroll down to read more about the recent Memorial Day festivities celebrating the USS Arizona Memorial’s 50th anniversary.

Aloha!

Arizona Memorial 50th Anniversary Celebration

The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor will be celebrating its 50th anniversary during Memorial Day weekend.  Beginning Friday, May 25 and concluding on Monday, May 28, special events will be held at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center and on the Arizona Memorial.

To kick off the festivities there will be a fundraiser golf event at the Klipper Golf Course at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay that Friday. The format will be a foursome shotgun scramble, and each group will include a combat veteran.  Starting the day is reception and registration at 11:30 am, tee off is at 12:30, cocktails at the club house at 4:30, which will be followed by entertainment and a banquet at the Officer’s Club at 5:30.

USS Arizona Memorial Shrine Room

USS Arizona Memorial Shrine Room

Special guests and speakers to include Admiral Locklear, Admiral Macke, General Lee, Mayor Peter Carslile and former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. If you are interested in participating in this event, check out the event info page.

Beginning Saturday, May 26 a vigil guard will be held in the shrine room of the Arizona Memorial by the Marine Corps Honor Guard for the anniversary.

Public programs to the Arizona Memorial will be cancelled beginning at 12:00 noon on Sunday, May 27 in order to host the anniversary ceremony. The Pearl Harbor Visitors Center and it’s museums with audio tour will be open during it’s regular hours of 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Sadly for this special event tours of Arizona Memorial will be unavailable.

The USS Arizona Memorial to celebrate 50 years of rememberance

The USS Arizona Memorial to celebrate 50 years of remembering fallen heroes.

While tours on Sunday afternoon are unavailable, Monday, May 28 would be a great day to visit the USS Arizona memorial. Every ticket holder will receive a commemorative card, a tribute flower, and have the opportunity to participate in a floral tribute while visiting the memorial.

For more details and a complete list of events check out their event homepage.

Aloha!

Battleship Celebrities Visit Pearl Harbor

Celebrities from the new Hollywood film Battleship, directed by Peter Berg, went to Hawaii to visit Pearl Harbor for a photocall. The posed photograph of celebrities in Hawaii was taken at Pearl Harbor in front of the USS Missouri Battleship, one of the most visited attractions a Pearl Harbor.

Battleship, the movie

Overseas, Battleship has already grossed over $100 million. Actress and singer Rihanna was at Pearl Harbor with castmates Brooklyn Decker, Taylor Kitsch, and Alexander Skarsgard for the photo shoot, which took place at the historic location where most of the movie was filmed.

Battleship actors visit Pearl Harbor

Battleship actors visit Pearl Harbor: Director Peter Berg, actors Brooklyn Decker, Gregory Gadson, Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgard

Battleship will debut in the United States on May 18, 2012.

Until then, you can visit the USS Missouri and take a guided deck tour of the “Mighty Mo”, where you can walk beneath the massive gun barrels that point toward the USS Arizona Memorial as a symbol of protection over the sunken battleship. The USS Missouri was the last battleship built by the United States.

Learn more about the USS Missouri

When you visit Pearl Harbor, be sure to spend time at the USS Missouri, located on Ford Island. Thousands of visitors arrive at Pearl Harbor everyday to see the Visitor Center and board the navy-operated boat to the USS Arizona Memorial, and hundreds more continue on to the Missouri, a massive battleship that’s been stationed at

Japanese surrender aboard the Missouri

Did you know? It was aboard the USS Missouri where the Empire of Japan signed the official Instrument of Surrender in 1945 to end the Second World War.

Arrival at Pearl Harbor

In 1998, the USS Missouri was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor. Subsequently, the ship became one of Pearl Harbor’s most popular attractions.

Visit Pearl Harbor today

If you’re planning your a visit to Hawaii, we recommend taking a tour of the top attractions at Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.