Pearl Harbor’s Institutional Storytellers

Dec 1, 2016

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Next Wednesday marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Memorial events are taking place all week, involving a number of organizations. We get more on that part of the story from Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier.

Days of activities are planned to commemorate the lives lost, and the lives changed on Dec. 7, 1941. The business community has stepped up, with nearly $1.6 million in sponsorships. The Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates Hawaii will receive 10,000 out-of-state visitors for the events and that as many 120,000 people, visitors and locals alike, will take part.

For this week’s cover story, we focused on the four entities in Pearl Harbor that, combined, tell the World War II story. One is a government agency, three are independent non-profits. And they are among the most visited attractions in Hawaii, even when there isn’t a big anniversary.

The National Park Service administers the USS Arizona Memorial, now known as the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. With a nearly $4 million annual budget, it welcomes $1.5 million visitors a year.  330 thousand people visit the nearby USS Bowfin each year—a submarine that served in the Pacific throughout the war. On Ford Island, and visible for miles around, the USS Missouri. That’s where the war with Japan officially ended with the signing of surrender documents. Six-hundred thousand people year visit the Mighty Mo. And next door to that is the youngest museum in the group, the Pacific Aviation Museum, visited by 250,000 people annually.

All four are ready are ready for the big anniversary, and the spike in interest and visitation could translate into much needed additional support. All four face challenges — for the Arizona, its maintenance backlog, for the other three, the challenge of fairly small non-profits tending to very large parts of history.