Eighty five years ago, in December 1941, the United States was pulled into the largest and most destructive war in human history. In the end, the allies triumphed over the fascism of Germany, Italy and Japan. The latter nation, by attacking the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, ensured a titanic struggle for mastery of the vast ocean and its periphery would be waged to the end.
This will be the last major opportunity to mingle with veterans of the Greatest Generation, especially those who are Pearl Harbor survivors (an 18-year old in December 1941 will be 103 today, while one from 1945 will be 99!). This Pearl Harbor guided tour will take us to the island of Oahu in Hawaii to examine the beginnings of America’s involvement in the great struggle. We will visit two ships, lying end-to-end, that encapsulate the war – the USS Arizona, under its memorial, where the war began that terrible Sunday morning, and the USS Missouri, on whose decks the allies accepted complete Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945. We will also see numerous other sites of the war, from ships, submarines and aircraft to Army garrisons and mountain observation points. We will attend several significant WWII remembrance events throughout the week and incorporate them into the itinerary as the schedule is announced.
In addition to the Pearl Harbor tour, we will also visit many places associated with Hawaiian history from its founding as a kingdom under Kamehameha through American whaling and missionary arrivals and on to the US agricultural and financial interests that led to the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 and the annexation of Hawaii as a US territory in 1898. The incredible story of this civilizational intersection will unfold as we visit critical sites.
Finally, no visit to this beautiful, sun-splashed island would be complete without visits to its gorgeous beaches and small towns for optional snorkeling, swimming, diving, hiking, golfing and just relaxing. From our spectacular Waikiki beachfront base at the beautiful and historic Moana Surfrider Hotel, we will spend a week in paradise and come away far richer for the experience!
The itinerary remains subject to minor change as the 85th Commemoration committee has not yet announced initial activities and celebrations. We will continue to add events to the itinerary as they become available. We expect commemorations at numerous military sites, including Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield in addition to the national commemoration on the 7th at Pearl Harbor’s Kilo Pier.