On one day during our 8-day stay in Hawaii this past January we visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl Crater. The cemetery is also known as Punchbowl Cemetery and was established in 1949 to honor those who gave their lives in the Pacific Theater of World War II and has since been expanded to include those who died in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, too.
There are about 45,000 people buried in the cemetery today including more than 13,000 who were killed during World War II.
The Honolulu Memorial with its statue of Lady Columbia was built in 1964. The names of more than 28,000 MIAs (missing in action) are inscribed on the walls that flank the memorial’s staircase. On either side of Lady Columbia there are galleries that depict the geographical history of World War II and the Korean War. I’ll have more about these mosaics in future postings.
According to Wikipedia and other Internet sources millions of visitors come to Punchbowl Cemetery every year. On the day of our visit the gardeners outnumbered the visitors. After leaving the visitor center we noticed a busload of Japanese tourists entering the cemetery. These buses just go around the crater and don’t stop. I don’t know if the bus passengers are counted as official visitors or not.
Tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at the mosaics that cover the war in the Pacific during World War II.