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National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

It was believed that the Punchbowl Crater was utilized for human sacrifices in ancient Hawaiian times. Now, it serves as the final resting place for men and women who have served in the United States armed forces. There are several emotional monuments at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which sprawls across much of the crater and includes the Honolulu Memorial, which is devoted to armed forces who died fighting in the Pacific during World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam War. In this cemetery are buried notable veterans such as Ernie Pyle (the famed World War II correspondent) and Stanley Dunham, among others (the maternal grandfather of former President Barack Obama).

Previous visitors have praised the cemetery’s gorgeous and quiet environment, as well as the fact that its memorial monuments are extremely informative, among other things. Some have, however, noted that the property can be difficult to locate, thus drivers should consider utilizing a GPS system when driving. To get to the cemetery, you can alternatively take the No. 15 bus. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located immediately north of the Honolulu Museum of Art and 2 miles northeast of downtown Honolulu. It is the only cemetery in the United States dedicated to the Pacific War. The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, and there is no admission charge. On-site amenities such as free parking, bathrooms, and a visitors’ kiosk are available. For further information, please see the cemetery’s website.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (also known as the Pacific National Cemetery) was created in 1948. Even though the idea of establishing a national cemetery in Hawaii was first proposed in 1938, it was the need for burial space for U.S. military personnel who died in the Pacific Theater of World War II that provided the impetus for its establishment by the Office of the Quartermaster General, United States Army. Around 10,000 World War II veterans were laid to rest in the Punchbowl crater between January 4 and March 25, 1949; another 1,777 were interred in June of that year, just ahead to the cemetery’s official opening in July. Memorial Park Cemetery was built to fit within the circular crater of an extinct volcano, with natural trees and bushes strategically placed around the grounds and flat granite headstones set among beautiful grass lawns. It was the first cemetery to embrace the Memorial Park cemetery trend.

Located just across from the entrance to the cemetery, the Honolulu Memorial has been designed from the outset to be the focal point of the grounds. It is the only American Battle Monuments Commission memorial located within a national cemetery. Originally intended to commemorate those who went missing during World War II’s Pacific Theater, the monument concept has now been expanded to include those who went missing during the Korean War and, more recently, the Vietnam War. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 11, 1976, and it has been there ever since. On June 18, 2014, additional documentation was made available.

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