The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located in the scenic Punchbowl Crater, just north of Honolulu, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The memorial honors the sacrifices of America’s military and, particularly, the lives lost during the Pearl Harbor attack.

National Memorial Cemetery-6This spacious cemetery encompasses 112 acres and features a large memorial, as well as ten ‘Courts of the Missing’ with the names of 29,000 military members who were designated Lost, Missing in Action, or Buried at Sea during World War II, Vietnam and the Korean wars.

National Memorial Cemetery-5Well-known Hawaiian heroes buried here include Hawaii’s first astronaut, Ellison Onizuka, and Stanley Dunham (grandfather of Barak Obama and World War II veteran).National Memorial Cemetery-4

Visitors can drive the loop road going through the cemetery, and pull off along the side to take pictures or visit graves. A visitor center is located near the entrance, with more information regarding the cemetery, memorial, and history available.National Memorial Cemetery-8

The entrance to the cemetery is located right on the crater rim, and features beautiful views of the city. The Punchbowl crater was formed nearly 100,000 years ago from hot lava being ejected through breaks in the coral reefs that, at that time, reached all the way to the base of the Koolau Mountain Range. The meaning of the crater’s Hawaiian name, Puowaina, means “Hill of Sacrifice.” It was used by the ancient Hawaiians as an altar for human sacrifices offered to the pagan gods. In 1943, Hawaii’s governor offered the area for use as a national cemetery, but it was not opened until 1949.National Memorial Cemetery-7

Visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Cost: Free
Phone: 808-532-3720
Website: www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/nmcp.asp
Hours: Open daily
Sept 30 thru March 1 — 8am – 5:30pm
March 2 thru Sept 29 — 8am – 6:30pm
Address: 2177 Puowaina Dr, Honolulu, HI 96813

Directions: From Waikiki, take the H1-W to the Pali Highway exit 21A. Turn left at the stoplight, and then take the first right onto School Street. Turn left onto Lusitana Street, then take the second road on the right (Puowaina Drive.) Follow Puowaina Drive to the cemetery gate.National Memorial Cemetery-9