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Hawaiians will never forget the significance of December 7th

USS Arizona under attack


The history of the United states in General and the islands of Hawaii in particular changed dramatically at 7.48 local time on December 7, 1941. It was at this time that the attack by the Imperial Japanese air force began on American naval ships moored up in Pearl Harbor that were totally oblivious to the impending events of that morning. One hour and fifteen minutes later the surprise attack ended. Yes, it wasn’t as long an attack as many of you may have thought perhaps because of the level of destruction and number of lives lost.


When the dust had settled, Americans and Hawaiians were faced with a scene of total devastation, images of which were soon broadcast across the globe, images which became synonymous with the name Pearl Harbor. Steel leviathans of the US Navy lay crippled or sunken, smoke billowing from their gnarled and twisted carcasses as tugs with water cannons tried in vain to quell the burning oil and exploding munitions that until then lay safely hidden below decks. All in all, 19 ships lay damaged or had sunk.


Ultimately, the attack on Pearl Harbor that morning resulted in the deaths of 2,403 American personnel, including 68 civilians, a fact that is remembered, solemnly, every year on December 7. However, it is not just on that day the attack is remembered, thanks to the creation of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, the USS Arizona Memorial and Visitor Center, and the presence of “Mighty Mo”, the USS Missouri which stands proud on constant watch over her sister ship, the USS Arizona, which lies beneath the surface of the water, unmoved since that fateful day 82 years ago.


We have one question to ask before we continue, and that is “How many ships do you think were sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor?” Not sure? Maybe this will surprise you when we tell you that despite the carnage, it was only the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma which were sunk, though we use the word ‘only’ advisedly. If you though it was more, perhaps you would enjoy going on one of four Pearl Harbor-related tours we can recommend for you where we can virtually guarantee that one of the two most commonly spoken phrases you will use will be either “Well, I never knew that” or “Now that did surprise me”!


As an example of what you may be surprised to learn is that despite 19 ships being damaged or sunk in the attack, other than the USS Arizona and Oklahoma, within six months virtually all the other ships were once again seaworthy. The reason for this is while the Imperial Japanese aircraft concentrated on attacking the ships, they left the nearby repair facilities and dry docks, which were totally unprotected, one of many mistakes made by high-ranking Japanese admirals and generals.


USS Arizona MemorialNow, only one challenge remains for you, and that is deciding which Pearl Harbor-related tour to go on. There is the Pearl Harbor Remembered Tour, which includes a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial and the Mighty Mo. Alternatively there is the Pearl Harbor Mighty Mo and City Tour which combines a bit of history with a bit of local discovery. There is then the Pearl Harbor City Tour where you can learn all about life in the city of Honolulu before and during the Second World War, while the Salute to Pearl Harbor Tour is one of the shorter tours and includes a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.


If you are planning to come to any of Hawai’i’s beautiful islands, at Lea Lea Tours we are always keen to ‘cherry pick’ the very best of tours available. To book your tickets to any of these Pearl Harbor tours or to find out more about any of our recommended tours, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.


USS Arizona photo courtesy of Wikipedia.