If you visit Hawai'i and stay in Honolulu you are doing yourself a disservice by not going to see Pearl Harbor.
Being a history major and WWII aficionado (okay fine, I have an unhealthy obsession with WWII) I was pretty pumped to go and see Pearl Harbor.
Growing up you learn about Pearl Harbor in every history class practically every year of schooling. I knew all the facts and have read an obnoxious number stories, fiction and not, about WWII. But there is something about going to see the place for yourself and stand where soldiers stood, where people fought and died, that makes the history very real.
We woke up to a rainy day and a late uber driver, but we made it to Pearl Harbor and started the audio tour and crossed our fingers that we could make one of the later boat tours. I could wander around museums for hours and never get bored. The biggest problem I have is the audio portion of the tours. I always want to wander and then if I want to listen to learn more than is written in front of me I want that option. Pearl Harbor has that option. Everything is numbered and you can pick and choose what you actually want to listen too.
Jamie Lee Curtis does the audio and no offense to her, but her voice drove me bananas. Which is sad because I was eager to learn new facts about WWII but I couldn't listen to her so I ended up reading more than listening. If it had been anyone else I probably would have listened more, but also maybe not. I am a weirdo about things like that.
The history and powerful stories that you get while touring Pearl Harbor was absolutely breathtaking. You think you know everything you can and then you go somewhere and you learn so much more than you ever thought possible.
Hearing the voices and stories of people that were at Pearl Harbor during the time of the bombings, the families that lived in Hawai'i, and the people visiting at the time made everything so real and helped me to actually feel connected to that piece of history. It is easy to feel disconnected because it didn't happen where you grew up, or you didn't know anyone there, but once you step foot into Pearl Harbor you can feel the weight of what happened and what everyone experienced.
I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the wall surrounding the base. It applies to everyone and every situation. I find myself saying it repeatedly and often.