Punchbowl Memorial

In 1948 a memorial to those who perished from the attacks on Pearl Harbor was built in Honolulu Hawaii. It was designed and built into the Pu'owaina Crater which means Hill of Sacrifice. The dedication is considered one of the most touching, and also one of the most beautiful of all American burial sites. The National Memorial Cemetery in Oahu, also known as the Punchbowl Memorial, is one of the must-see Oahu attractions when visiting the island.

The dedication ceremony for the Punchbowl National Cemetery commenced in September of 1949, a tearful tribute to the almost 8,000 men who perished in the attacks on the opposite end of Oahu. Punchbowl Honolulu also honors and pays tribute to casualties from Korea, Vietnam and World War II as well as their families. The number of Punchbowl Memorial grave sites now totals more than 33,000.

Visitors exploring the Punchbowl National Cemetery near Waikiki Beach have access to a small chapel found inside an additional memorial building where respects can be paid. There are also maps provided of the different war areas to get a better picture of exactly where events of the fateful days occurred as well as military branch history. Particularly compelling is the wall honoring those that remained missing in action, totaling more than 22,000 people, each of their names etched into the wall.

Throughout the Punchbowl Honolulu grounds there is a host of meaningful statues and stones etched with weighty, somber words. The statue of Lady Columbia sits abreast of the building that overlooks the vast cemetery grounds, comprising more than 110 acres. Lady Columbia is a symbol of all the despairing mothers of those who perished at Pearl Harbor. Carved along the bottom of the statue is the sobering phrase The Solemn Pride That Must Be Yours To Have Laid So Costly a Sacrifice Upon the Altar of Freedom.

Those on Oahu tours will be afforded plenty of time to explore the different areas at the Punchbowl National Cemetery. The site is so significant that many make the trip over from Big Island, Kauai and Maui to spend some time paying tribute and respect to those who once fought fervently for freedom. It's possible to arrange an interisland flight to Oahu if visiting the Punchbowl Memorial is high on your list of things to do.

In yet another building on the grounds visitors can use the computer provided to search for certain names. The search then explains the exact burial site of those people. This allows visitors to find a friend or family's grave easily. Standing at the top of the Monument staircase, the cemetery grounds are displayed in all their glory, replete with American flags and hundreds of flowers. From the stairs at the Punchbowl Honolulu is revealed in the distance and Diamond Head can also be seen from far off.

The Punchbowl Memorial is a moving and very amazing site to visit. Walking through the cemetery is an emotional journey as head stones and names of heroes laid to rest in peace lay before you. The cemetery is full of many high honors and purple hearts given to those who gave their lives in battle. Visitors can also take one of the Pearl Harbor tours offered throughout the island which compliment a visit to the Punchbowl Memorial and add an important element of meaning and understanding.

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