Sights and Wonders #3: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – Honolulu, Hawai’i

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By Quentin Choy

June 4, 2021

In the Punchbowl Crater sitting just above Urban Honolulu sits a tranquil resting place of thousands of American heroes who served in the U.S. military as well as a monument established for those men and women whose remains were never found. This is the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The Honolulu Memorial features a 30-foot sculpture of Lady Columbia, the female personification of America. Beneath her lies an engravement from a quote in a letter President Lincoln wrote to a mother who lost five sons in the Civil War which reads: The solemn that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

The memorial contains large mosaics of key battles of World War II including the campaigns in the Pacific, in China, and in the Aleutian Islands as well as battles from the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

From the bottom of the stairs, visitors can truly take in the sheer size of the Honolulu Memorial, seeing the statue of Lady Columbia as well as the many white walls engraved with the names of the 28,778 soldiers whose remains have not yet been found.

Located directly behind the statue of Lady Columbia lies a small chamber designated for memorial services before burials. The space is open and can be used to rest or contemplate the heaviness of the monument and the sacrifices made.

If you are ever visiting O’ahu, Hawai’i, I highly recommend that you visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific to see the dedication of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Aside from the historical significance and honor of this place, there are also beautiful views of O’ahu from the monument.

The cemetery is hallowed ground, and if you visit, please refrain from disruptive or loud behavior, as many people come to grieve and mourn those they lost. Heroes like former Senator and World War II hero Daniel Inouye are buried here as well as countless others who gave up their lives for our nation. Serving as Pro Tempore of the Senate, Inouye was the highest-ranking Asian American politician in U.S history.

Please consider visiting the memorial and learning about those whose sacrifices made history if you are ever in Hawai’i.

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