Throughout the centuries, wars have erupted between nations where people died, and history was made. But let us not forget the courage these soldiers displayed on the battlefield. All over the world, war memorials are erected to help people remember the men, women, and animals that made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
World War II Memorials
There are hundreds if not thousands of war memorials all over the world. Some are dedicated to remembering some of the most prominent game changers in the war, and some are erected to remind us the horrors people went through during those years. If you’re looking to educate yourself more on the war, notably World War II, then these are some of the places you must visit.
USS Arizona Memorial [Pearl Harbour]
History: The Japanese Imperial Army conducted a surprise aerial attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack sparked the US participation in World War II. The USS Arizona, one of the sunken ships in the attack, is now the resting place of 1177 crewmen who were trapped inside it during the attack on Pearl Harbor. A memorial was built on top of it and visitors can visit and learn more about that fateful December morning.
What to expect: Admission is free, and everyone is allowed inside the memorial museum. The tour consists of a short documentary that explains more about Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona. Outside, you can find outdoor exhibits that help to continue the narrative and hopefully help paint a picture of World War II.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park [Japan]
History: August 1945, the US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan within three days. The first was in Hiroshima and the last one in Nagasaki. At least 130, 000 people were killed, and Japan surrendered to the US a week later. The destruction the bombs caused wasn’t just during, and the immediate aftermath, the radiation from the bombs produced a variety of sickness to the people who were not immediately killed by the blast.
What to expect: The park is beautiful and has an abundance of memorials that can bring a tear to your eye as you remember the lives lost and the ugliness of war. One of these memorials is the A-Bomb Dome. It used to be the Hiroshima Industrial Promotion Hall which was destroyed by the atomic bomb. Another is the Children’s Peace Monument, which depicts the status of Sadako Sasaki with her arms outstretched with a folded paper crane rising above her.
History: On June 10, 1944, Nazis sealed off the town of Oradour-sur-Glane. They then ordered all the residents, including six people who were passing by the city on bikes, to gather in the town square as the officers were to inspect their identity papers. After this, all the men were locked in the barns and the women and children in a church. The Nazis then set fire to these buildings and the rest of the village. Anyone who was trying to escape was gunned down. The incident to this day is remembered as the Oradour-sur-Glane Massacre.
What you can see: the ruins of the original village remain as they were today, and a new town now stands bearing the same name located northwest of the site. A museum called the Centre de la Memoire d’Ordour was opened in 1999 near the old village and features items and artefacts collected from the destroyed houses including old watches, melted glasses, and other personal items.
We must never forget the atrocities of war. These memorials today stand for the lives lost before their time and as a gruesome reminder of what war can do to us as people. Reading about these places and their history is great, but being able to see them in person is a whole new experience.
So, for your next vacation, why not plan a trip to one of these World War II memorials? Book an airport parking spot with Alpha, fly, and come back home to your car with no additional headaches.