Pearl Harbor National Memorial


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When I first visited Pearl Harbor in the eighties, it was called the Arizona Memorial. In 2008, President George Bush made it part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument which included sites in California and Alaska as well as Pearl Harbor.


Now it is a separate unit again. Legislation in March 2019 designated it The Pearl Harbor National Memorial. It is run by the National Park Service in cooperation with the US Navy. Since we were visiting only a month after the law passed, they hadn’t yet changed the sign.


The Memorial commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and the United States’ subsequent entry into WWII. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and other areas on Oahu in a two-wave surprise attack. They sank or damaged nearly every vessel in the Harbor, killing over 2400 people.


Though devastating, the attack did not cripple the US fleet as our aircraft carriers (Japan’s intended target) were out at sea. And most of the damaged vessels were raised, repaired and sent back into action. Only the USS Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma could not be recovered.


The Arizona still rests where she fell and serves as a burial ground for the thousand crewmen whose bodies could not be recovered. The US Navy has given the survivors the option to be buried there when they pass to be reunited with their brothers-at-arms.


In 1962, a concrete memorial was erected over the Arizona’s remains so that visitors could pay their respects. The boat ramp to the memorial was damaged last year, closing it to the public. Our Navy-run boat tour took us along Battleship Row near the memorial but did not dock there.


This closure prevented the survivors from coming to Hawaii to observe the anniversary in December 2018. The park hopes to complete repairs in time for the 2019 anniversary. There are only a few survivors left and they are quite elderly.


The USS Missouri is positioned so that it faces the Arizona Memorial. Together, they represent the beginning and the end of the United State’s war with Japan. The Missouri was the site of the Japanese Empire’s surrender.


Do not be discouraged from visiting while the Arizona Memorial is still closed. Visiting Pearl Harbor is a moving experience even without boarding the actual structure over the Arizona. Military personnel are on hand to talk about the events of the day and they, along with the  museum and film presentation, do an excellent job of humanizing the story.


Oahu Posts:


Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818

Designation: National Memorial

Date established/designated: March 12, 2019

Date of my visit: April 20, 2019

This Tree of Life design is incorporated into the Arizona Memorial. It is a symbol of renewal meant to evoke contemplation.

King Kamehameha Statue

IMG_4560Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

King Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810 after long years of conflict between the different tribes. His bronze statue stands in front of Aliʻiolani Hale, across the street from Iolani Palace. We stopped by to see it after touring Iolani.


Originally commissioned to commemorate  the centennial anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival in Hawaii, the statue was completed in Italy and France a little to late to make it. Then the ship it was on sank. King Kalākaua, who was building Iolani Palace at the time, had the statue recast and dedicated it in honor of Kamehameha I in 1883.


There are four panels at the base of the statue depicting scenes from Kamehameha’s life.  The first is Kamehameha as a boy, training to be a warrior and demonstrating remarkable skill.


In the second he is surveying his armada of Koa wood canoes, capable of transporting 8000 warriors between the islands.


The third represents the ‘law of the splintered paddle’ which decreed that all Hawaiians should be able to travel freely and without fear of harm.


The fourth depicts Kamehameha meeting with Captain Cook aboard his vessel off the island of Maui.


Oahu Posts:

Location: 447 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813

Designation: Statue

Date established/designated: 1883

Date of my visit: April 13, 2019


Fort DeRussy Beach Park Video


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

Fort DeRussy is a beach-front military reservation in the Waikiki area. The beach stretches between Kahanamoku Beach and the Outrigger Hotel. While it is under the jurisdiction of the US Army, most of the park, including the beach, is open to the public. You can see my original post on Fort DeRussy here.


When going through my camera roll, I found a video clip I’d forgotten to include in the original post, so here it is. Enjoy!

Location: 2055 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

Designation: Military Reservation

Date established/designated: circa 1904

Date of my visit: April 2019

Diamond Head National Natural Landmark


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Diamond Head is a dormant volcano crater. It provides the iconic backdrop to Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu.


Hawaiians called the crater ‘Le’ahi’ (Tuna Ridge, because it resembles the fin of a tuna.) Western explorers thought they saw diamonds sparkling on the crater walls as they approached from the sea which is how it got the name Diamond Head. There were no diamonds.


The military built the trail to the top in 1908 and defensive bunkers were built at the summit during World War II. There are still antennae up there in use by the government.


The hike to the summit is the most popular trail on the island, so we Ubered over to the trail head at the crack of dawn. The car dropped us off in the parking lot where there is a small visitors center kiosk and some restrooms.


The trail head begins from the parking lot, which is already halfway up the crater. It starts out as a steep sidewalk and then gives way to rocky, slippery switchbacks.


Near the end of the switchbacks is a side trail leading to an overlook. This is a good pace to take some photos, catch your breath and drink some water.


The trail is only 1.8 miles round trip, but it’s steep.


Further up the trail, the switchbacks lead to an even steeper staircase. After climbing the stairs, you get to huff and puff your way through a narrow tunnel blasted through the rock.


Once through the tunnel, there are more stairs to the bunkers on top. We climbed up there for breathtaking views of Honolulu, the Pacific and Diamond Head Lighthouse down below.


Once we got back down to the trail head, we continued walking past the park’s entrance to the farmer’s market, about a 1/2 mile down the road. There are dozens of food stalls with fresh fruit and specialties from many different countries. We snacked our way around the world and then were off to our next stop.


Oahu Posts:


Location: Diamond Head, Honolulu, HI 96815

Designation: National Natural Landmark, State Monument

Date established/designated: 1968

Date of my visit: April 13, 2019


The Aloha Tower – NRHP


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


The Aloha Tower is a lighthouse on Pier 9 of Honolulu Harbor. When it opened in September 1926 it was the tallest structure in Hawaii at 10 stories. It cost $160k to build, a huge sum at the time.

Like the Hawaiian Statue of Liberty, the Aloha Tower welcomed immigrants for decades. During WWII, it was painted camouflage. Today, it has an observation deck on the 10th floor, is surrounded by the Aloha Tower Marketplace (part of Hawai‘i Pacific University,) and welcomes cruise ship tourists to the port of Honolulu.


Oahu Posts:

Location: 155 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813

Designation: National Register of Historic Places

Date established/designated: May 13, 1976

Date of my visit: April 13, 2019


Polynesian Cultural Center


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The Polynesian Cultural Center is a theme park dedicated to the preservation of the cultures of  Polynesia. It is on the northern shore of Oahu, and is owned by The Church of Latter-day Saints


We spent the day at this park…it’s like EPCOT (the world showcase part) for Polynesian nations. Our reservations included transportation from our Waikiki hotel, access to each of the villages, an afternoon floating pageant in the central lagoon, a luau with entertainment and an evening theatrical performance. It was a full day, but lots of fun!


The park is organized into six villages, each representing a different Polynesian culture, on the banks of a central lagoon. Most of the center’s performers are from the areas represented and receive scholarships to the Church of LDS’ Brigham Young University – Hawaii.


We took a canoe ride to Tahiti, watched a man make poi out of taro root in Hawai’i, attended a Maori warrior dance performance in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and laughed at a Tongan drum performance involving volunteers from the audience.


In Fiji, we kept the rhythm by pounding bamboo sticks in time to the music. In Samoa, we were treated to a fire dancing performance, a coconut husking demonstration and then two young men scaled palm trees in their bare feet to retrieve some more coconuts!


In the afternoon, there was a performance in the lagoon on canoes, featuring the dances of all six regions.


We cooled off for a few minutes in the IMAX theater with aerial photography of Hawaii. Then it was time for the luau!


At the luau, the roasted pig was unearthed from its fire pit with much fanfare and then there were more performances while we ate. (And yes, we did try the poi, and while we didn’t care for that, the dinner rolls made with taro were quite delicious.)


Afterwards, we headed over to the Pacific Theater for the theatrical production of Hā–Breath of Life. This was the only place were weren’t allowed to take photos.  It is a cross between a Broadway play and Medieval Times performance, telling a story of ancient Polynesian traditions and history, interwoven with song and dance in arena-like setting.


Oahu Posts:


Location: 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie, HI 96762

Designation: Cultural Theme Park

Date established/designated: 10/12/1963

Date of my visit: April 12, 2019


Byodo-In Temple State Landmark


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


The Byodo-In Temple is at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodo-in Temple in Uji, Japan. At 11,000 square feet, it is big, but half the size of the original.

It  was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

The Temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple…it doesn’t house monks or host a congregation. All faiths are welcome here.


The main structure is Phoenix Hall…there is a Phoenix carving on the roof. Inside is an 18 foot statue of the Lotus Buddha. You must remove your shoes to go inside.

Outside is a three-ton, brass peace bell which we were encouraged to ring, releasing our negativity.

We bought some food from the gift shop to feel the koi and black swans in the large koi ponds that surround the temple.


Oahu Posts:

  • Kahanamoku Beach
  • Fort DeRussy Beach Park
  • Green World Coffee Farm
  • The Dole Plantation
  • Anahulu River
  • Waimea Falls
  • Hau’ula Beach Park
  • Tropical Macadamia Farm
  • Byodo-In Temple
  • Polynesian Cultural Center (coming soon)
  • Aloha Tower (coming soon)
  • Diamond Head (coming soon)
  • Iolani Palace (coming soon)
  • King Kamehameha Statue (coming soon)
  • Aliʻiōlani Hale (coming soon)
  • Pearl Harbor (coming soon)


Location: 47-200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744

Designation: State Landmark

Date established/designated: June 7, 1968

Date of my visit: April 11, 2019