We started our day by driving up Tantalus Drive on Oahu which is a very curvy road with many switchbacks. Tantalus Lookout offers panoramic views over Honolulu and Waikiki Beach.
Even Bear and Bearbette got up early to catch the sunrise view, though Bearbette was still sleepy.
After the sunrise, we headed over to Punchbowl Crater. This is the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. It serves as a memorial to honor those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces, and those who have given their lives in doing so. The cemetery was dedicated in 1949 and holds approximately 53,000 World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam War veterans and their dependents. The cemetery now almost exclusively accepts cremated remains for above-ground interment of ashes only. Initially the graves were marked with white wooden crosses and stars of David, but those were only to be temporary. Despite the Army’s efforts to notify the public that they were only temporary, there was a public outcry when they were replaced in 1951 with permanent granite markers.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was the first such cemetery to install Bicentennial Medal of Honor headstones, the medal insignia being defined in gold leaf. In 1976, a total of 23 of these were placed on the graves of medal recipients, all but one of whom were killed in action.
In 2001, about 70 generic “Unknown” markers for the graves of men known to have died during the attack on Pearl Harbor were replaced with markers that included USS Arizona after it was determined they perished on this vessel. In addition, new information that identified grave locations of 175 men whose graves were previously marked as “Unknown” resulted in the installation of new markers in late 2002.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific contains a “Memorial Walk” that is lined with a variety of memorial markers from various organizations and governments that honor America’s veterans. Here are a few of them.
The Honolulu Memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery is “to honor the sacrifices and achievements of American Armed Forces in the Pacific during World War II and in the Korean War”. The memorial was later expanded in 1980 to include the Vietnam War. The names of 28,788 military personnel who are missing in action or were lost or buried at sea in the Pacific during these conflicts are listed on marble slabs in ten Courts of the Missing which flank the Memorial’s grand stone staircase. The courts are divided up by the branch of service.
At the top of the staircase in the Court of Honor is a statue of Lady Columbia, also known as Lady Liberty, or Justice. Here she is reported to represent all grieving mothers. She stands on the bow of a ship holding a laurel branch. The inscription below the statue, taken from Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Bixby, reads:
- THE SOLEMN PRIDE
- THAT MUST BE YOURS
- TO HAVE LAID
- SO COSTLY A SACRIFICE
- UPON THE ALTAR
- OF FREEDOM
- The memorial contains a small chapel and tribute to the various battles fought in the Pacific.
- Here is just one of the murals –
- Inset in the bronze grille-work in the chapel are fifty eight colored glass cabochons. The cabochons depict seven different symbols; a burning torch, the Hand of God, a Hero, a Holy Dove, a Lamb, Liberty, and a Shofar ( an ancient musical horn made from a ram’s horn.)
- Lastly is the flag poles made to look like they are from a ship’s mast.
- Above the memorial walk is an overlook of the city. Here I was able to see the State Capital Building with its unique architecture.
After reviewing the different murals from the action in the Pacific, and paying our respects to all those brave souls, it was time to move on.
We drove from here down by Waikiki. We started over by the Honolulu Zoo and walked back on Kuhio Beach Park. We first encountered a very rare and elusive “Phone Booth”. We found two of them – so maybe their will be little phone booths popping up elsewhere in the future…..
And what would a Hawaiian Beach be, without a coconut palm tree.
This is based on a children’s story by Fred Van Dyke honoring the Hawaiian values of love and respect for the family and the ocean.
We walked out to take in the view –
Waikiki means spouting water. Where the famous beach area is now, was once a marsh with lots of streams coming down to the ocean. The walkout was actually placed on top of the mouth of an old stream the Kuckaunahi. Waikiki has been a popular surfing spot from the beginning. But by the 1900, surfing has nearly died out in Hawai’i because of the missionary opposition to the sport because it took people away from worship and other religious obligations. Waves on Waikiki vary in height from 2 to 8 feet and have on a rare occasion reached 35 feet. A ride can last a hundred yards or so. The longest ride took place in 1917 when Duke Paoa Kahanamoku caught a 35 ft wave and rode it to shore, a distance of a mile and a quarter.
Duke was a full blooded Hawaiian. He was an Olympic athletic swimmer, who between 1912 and 1932 won three gold, two silver, and a bronze in four Olympics. He is known for introducing surfing to the eastern seaboard of the United States, Australia, and Europe. He also was a hero, by saving eight lives from a capsized launch in Corona del Mar, California, using his surf board. He also went on to be a movie star. He was the ambassador of Aloha for Hawai’i since 1912.
Diamond Head off in the distance.
Carol sitting by a fountain near the beach.
A walkway between the shops and hotels to the beach is lined with surf boards.
Carol with Bear and Bearbette and a Hawaiian bear.