Say “Hawaii” and most people think beautiful beaches, tropical drinks with paper umbrellas and surfers. Hawaii is all that, plus some of the most interesting and poignant historical sites found anywhere in America. The top five historical sites in Hawaii mark both human achievements and human tragedies.
1. USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Oahu
More than 1.5 million people visit the USS Arizona Memorial each year. The solemn memorial was built over the site where the battleship USS Arizona sank with all its crew in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Dedicated in 1962, the site became a U.S. National Park Service area in 1980. The center offers interpretive programs, including a documentary film about the attack and the boat trip to the memorial.
2. Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Moloka’i
Kalaupapa marks two tragedies of Hawaiian history: the forced removal of indigenous people in 1865 and 1895, and the forced isolation of people suffering from leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease. The first episode broke ties with the land that had existed for 900 years. The second broke apart both families and the spirits of some sufferers until the arrival of Father Damien (Joseph De Veuster), who restored dignity and worth to Molokai’s victims. Established in 1980, the park provides the physical setting for these stories.
3. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Kona Coast, Hawai’i
This park was established in 1978 to preserve and interpret traditional Hawaiian culture and practices. Some 45,000 visitors annually take in its impressive sights. Comprised of 1,160 acres, Kaloko-Honokvhau NHP includes the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement containing parts of four different ahupua`a, or traditional sea to mountain land divisions. The park protects ex
4. Royal Hawaiian residences, Oahu.
Not many people know that Hawaii was once a sovereign nation governed by a royal family. Iolani Palace State Monument in Honolulu and Queen Emma’s Summer Palace, just outside of Honolulu, mark this royal past. Iolani Palace was the official residence of Hawaii’s last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, and even served for a time as her prison when the monarchy was overthrown. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Queen Emma’s Summer Palace is actually a frame Victorian house with a colonnade. Queen Emma, the wife of Kamehameha IV, inherited the house from her uncle, John Young II. Her home has been restored to resemble a 19th century with gardens, furnishings and accessories and artifacts of the Hawaiian royal family.
5. Battleship Missouri Memorial, Oahu.
“The Mighty Mo,” as she’s called, has literally carried history on her decks. Commissioned in 1944, the Iowa-class Missouri was built for firepower, which she delivered from her massive guns in the battles of Iowa Jima, Okinawa and the Korean War. Japan surrendered to the United States aboard the Missouri. She was decommissioned in 1955, but after extensive refurbishment, the Mighty Mo was brought out of retirement in 1986. In 1991 she was deployed in the Persian Gulf, where she launched Tomahawk missiles during Operation Desert Storm. Her last mission came Dec. 7, 1991, when she led a contingent of ships into Pearl Harbor to mark the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack that brought America into World War II. She was finally retired in 1996.
(Author: John Ramallo)
About the Author:
Many things can be considered truly Hawaiian. Author Sam Kanakanui and creator of Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce is just such a person. Born on Oahu, Sam has brought his families 100 year old teriyaki sauce recipe to the mainland to share with his extended ohana (family). He can be contacted at www.TrulyHawaiian.com.
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