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World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

1 Arizona Memorial Place

Pearl Harbor

Once an oyster-farming backwater, this area was held sacred to the shark goddess Ka‘ahupahau. But it's forever etched into America's psyche due to the 1941 Japanese surprise attack on the naval base, which launched the U.S. into WWII's Pacific theater. Today, more than a million visitors pay their respects annually at the museums and memorials, which include the USS Bowfin, the USS Missouri, and the wreck of the USS Arizona. Buy tickets online to avoid the inevitable long wait. Ford Island also houses the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum here: Historic hangars showcase vintage aircraft like a Japanese Zero and a Curtiss P-40E Warhawk. Plane buffs should add on a $10 combat-simulator flight.