National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (also Punchbowl National Cemetery) is a cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

 located in Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 that serves a memorial to those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

. It is administered by the National Cemetery Administration of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense...

 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

. Thousands of visitors visit the cemetery each year, and it is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.

Location, construction and history

The cemetery is located in Punchbowl Crater
Punchbowl Crater
Punchbowl Crater is an extinct volcanic tuff cone located in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is the location of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific....

 (Pūowaina in Hawaiian
Hawaiian language
The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaii, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the state of Hawaii...

), located just north of downtown Honolulu (a bit confusing to find due to several small turns, access Punchbowl by taking Ward Avenue off of Ala Moana Boulevard, and then taking a right on Prospect Street and following the signs into the Punchbowl; the cemetery is also accessible from H1 or the Pali Highway). In ancient times Punchbowl was used as a site for human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

s, and pū-o-waina means "hill of placing (human sacrifices)."

In February 1948 Congress approved funding and construction began on the national cemetery. Since the cemetery was dedicated on September 2, 1949, 34,000 veterans of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Korean
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, and Vietnam
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 wars have been interred. The cemetery is now full except for cremated remains and, in some cases, casketed remains of family members of those interred there. A new veterans cemetery (Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery (21.38898°N 157.787141°W)) has been built and dedicated on the windward side of O'ahu
Oahu or Oahu , known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state capital Honolulu is located on the southeast coast...

 at Kāne'ohe.

Prior to the opening of the cemetery for the recently deceased, the remains of soldiers from locations around the Pacific Theater—including Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, Wake Island
Wake Island
Wake Island is a coral atoll having a coastline of in the North Pacific Ocean, located about two-thirds of the way from Honolulu west to Guam east. It is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior...

, and Japanese POW camps—were transported to Hawaii for final interment. The first interment was made January 4, 1949. The cemetery opened to the public on July 19, 1949, with services for five war dead: an unknown serviceman, two Marines, an Army lieutenant and one civilian—noted war correspondent Ernie Pyle
Ernie Pyle
Ernest Taylor Pyle was an American journalist who wrote as a roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain from 1935 until his death in combat during World War II. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944...

. Initially, the graves at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific were marked with white wooden cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

es and Stars of David—like the American cemeteries abroad—in preparation for the dedication ceremony on the fourth anniversary of V-J Day. Eventually, over 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II would be laid to rest in the Punchbowl. Despite the Army's extensive efforts to inform the public that the star- and cross-shaped grave markers were only temporary, an outcry arose in 1951 when permanent flat granite markers replaced them.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was the first such cemetery to install Bicentennial
United States Bicentennial
The United States Bicentennial was a series of celebrations and observances during the mid-1970s that paid tribute to the historical events leading up to the creation of the United States as an independent republic...

 Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 headstones, the medal insignia being defined in gold leaf. On May 11, 1976, a total of 23 of these were placed on the graves of medal recipients, all but one of whom were killed in action.

In August 2001, about 70 generic unknown markers for the graves of men known to have died during the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 were replaced with markers that included USS Arizona
USS Arizona (BB-39)
USS Arizona, a , was built for the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Named in honor of the 48th state's recent admission into the union, the ship was the second and last of the Pennsylvania class of "super-dreadnought" battleships. Although commissioned in 1916, the ship remained stateside...

 after it was determined they perished on this vessel. In addition, new information that identified grave locations of 175 men whose graves were previously marked as unknown resulted in the installation of new markers in October 2002.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific contains a memorial pathway that is lined with a variety of memorials that honor America's veterans from various organizations. As of 2005, there were 63 such memorials throughout the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific—most commemorating soldiers of 20th-century wars, including those killed at Pearl Harbor.

"Operation Glory" and the Punchbowl Cemetery

After their retreat in 1950, dead Marines and soldiers were buried at a temporary gravesite near Hungnam, North Korea. During "Operation Glory" which occurred from July to November 1954 the dead of each side were exchanged; remains of 4,167 US soldiers/Marines were exchanged for 13,528 North Korean/Chinese dead. In addition 546 civilians who died in United Nations Prisoner of War camps were turned over to the South Korean Government. After "Operation Glory" 416 Korean War "unknowns" were buried in the Punchbowl Cemetery. According to one report, 1,394 names were also transmitted during "Operation Glory" from the Chinese and North Koreans {of whom 858 names proved to be correct}; of the 4,167 returned remains were found to be 4,219 individuals of whom 2,944 were found to be Americans of whom all but 416 were identified by name. Of 239 Korean War unaccounted for: 186 not associated with Punchbowl unknowns (176 were identified and of the remaining 10 cases 4 were non-Americans of Asiatic descent; one was British; 3 were identified and 2 cases unconfirmed). Fifty-seven years after the Korean War, remains of two of the "Punchbowl unknowns" were identified-both from the 1st Marine Division: one was Pfc. Donald Morris Walker of Support Company/1st Service Battalion/1st Marine Division who was KIA Dec 7, 1950; the other was Pfc. Carl West of Weapons Company/1st Battalion/7th Regiment/1st Marine Division who was KIA Dec 10, 1950.
In 2011 remains of an unknown USAF pilot from Operation Glory were Identified from the "Punchbowl Cemetery"; POW remains from "Operation Glory" were also identified in 2011

From 1990 to 1994, North Korea excavated and turned over 208 sets of remains-possibly containing remains of 200-400 US Servicemen-but few identified because of co-mingling of remains.In 2011 remains were identifed

From 1996 to 2006, 220 remains were recovered near the Chinese border. In 2008, a total of 63 were identified (26 World War II; 19 Korea; 18 Vietnam) (Among those identified: January 2008 remains of a Michigan soldier. In March 2008, remains of an Indiana soldier and an Ohio soldier were identified). According to a report June 24, 2008, of 10 Korean War Remains disinterred from the "Punchbowl Cemetery" six have been identified. From January to April 2009, a total of twelve Unknowns have been identified-three from World War II; eight from Korean War; one from Vietnam. In 2011 remains returned in 2000 were identifed

Honolulu Memorial

In 1964, the American Battle Monuments Commission erected the Honolulu Memorial at the National Memorial Cemetery "to honor the sacrifices and achievements of American Armed Forces in the Pacific during World War II and in the Korean War." The memorial was later expanded in 1980 to include the Vietnam War. The names of 28,788 military personnel who are missing in action or were lost or buried at sea in the Pacific during these conflicts are listed on marble slabs in ten Courts of the Missing which flank the Memorial's grand stone staircase.

The dedication stone at the base of staircase is engraved with the following words:

At the top of the staircase in the Court of Honor is a statue of Lady Columbia, also known as Lady Liberty, or Justice. Here she is reported to represent all grieving mothers. She stands on the bow of a ship holding a laurel branch. The inscription below the statue, taken from Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

's letter to Mrs. Bixby
Letter to Mrs. Bixby
The Bixby letter is a letter sent from the United States President Abraham Lincoln to a bereaved mother of five sons who were thought to have died while fighting for the Union in the American Civil War. The brief, consoling message was written in November 1864 to Lydia Bixby, a widow living in...

, reads:

Popular references

The statue is featured in the opening sequence of the both the 1970s television series Hawaii Five-O
Hawaii Five-O
Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and Leonard Freeman. Set in Hawaii, the show originally aired for twelve seasons from 1968 to 1980, and continues in reruns. The show featured a fictional state police unit run by Detective Steve McGarrett,...

and its 2010 remake. The latter series has also filmed at the cemetery, where the father of lead character Steve McGarrett is buried near the statue.

Notable interments and memorials

  • Donn Beach, born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, founder of Don The Beachcomber restaurants and inventor of the tiki bar
  • Ralph Waldo Christie
    Ralph Waldo Christie
    Ralph Waldo Christie was an admiral in the United States Navy who played a pivotal role in the development of torpedo technologies...

    , Navy Admiral involved with torpedo and submarine operations before and during World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  • Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins
    Sailor Jerry
    Norman Keith Collins was a prominent American tattoo artist who was also known as "Sailor Jerry".-Life:...

    , Honolulu tattoo artist
  • Stanley Armour Dunham
    Stanley Armour Dunham
    Stanley Armour Dunham was the maternal grandfather of U.S. President Barack Obama. He and his wife Madelyn Payne Dunham raised Obama from the age of 10 in Honolulu, Hawaii.-Early life:...

    , maternal grandfather of President Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

  • Hank Hansen, Iwo Jima flag raiser
    Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
    Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.The photograph was extremely...

  • Young Oak Kim, member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team
    442nd Regimental Combat Team
    The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army, was composed of Japanese-American enlisted men and mostly Caucasian officers. They fought primarily in Europe during World War II, beginning in 1944. The families of many of its soldiers were subject to internment...

     and first Asian-American to command a battalion in wartime
  • Patsy Mink
    Patsy Mink
    Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink was an American politician from the U.S. state of Hawaii. Mink was a third generation Japanese American and member of the Democratic Party. She also was the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.Mink served in the U.S...

    , U.S. Congresswoman and author of Title IX
    Title IX
    Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a United States law, enacted on June 23, 1972, that amended Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2002 it was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, in honor of its principal author Congresswoman Mink, but is most...

  • Spark Matsunaga
    Spark Matsunaga
    Spark Masayuki Matsunaga was a United States Senator from Hawaii. He was an American Democrat whose legislation in the United States Senate led to the creation of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians.-Career:Matsunaga became a United States Army Reservist in 1941,...

    , U.S. Senator from Hawaii, member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team
  • Ellison Onizuka
    Ellison Onizuka
    was a Japanese American astronaut from Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii, who successfully flew into space with the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-51-C, before losing his life to the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger, where he was serving as Mission Specialist for mission STS-51-L...

    , first astronaut from Hawaii, killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
    Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
    The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

  • Ernie Pyle
    Ernie Pyle
    Ernest Taylor Pyle was an American journalist who wrote as a roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain from 1935 until his death in combat during World War II. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944...

    , World War I veteran and World War II war correspondent
  • William F. Quinn
    William F. Quinn
    William Francis Quinn was the Governor of the Territory of Hawai'i from 1957 to 1959 and the Governor of the State of Hawai'i from 1959 to 1962. Originally appointed to the office by President Dwight D...

    , territorial governor of Hawaii (1957–1959) and first governor of Hawaii (1959–1962) after it achieved statehood.
  • Charles L. Veach
    Charles L. Veach
    Charles Lacy Veach was a NASA astronaut.-Personal data:Veach was born in Chicago, Illinois, but considered Honolulu, Hawaii, to be his hometown. Married to Alice Meigs Scott of Waycross, Georgia, he had two children. He enjoyed surfing, bicycling, reading and activities with his family. His...

    , astronaut.
  • John A. Burns
    John A. Burns
    John Anthony Burns served as the second Governor of Hawaii from 1962 to 1974. Born in Fort Assinniboine, Montana, Burns was a resident of Hawaii from 1913....

    , former Governor of Hawaii (interred on April 9, 1975).
  • John J. Hyland, Admiral and commander of Pacific Fleet during Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

External links

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