Punchbowl National Cemetery
About Punchbowl National Cemetery
The unique Punchbowl National Cemetery is located at the edge of Downtown Honolulu city limits. As you travel through the cemetery grounds, look for memorials for victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor that were never identified. This is also the final resting place of an Iwo Jima flag raiser, President Obamas maternal grandfather, and Ellis S. Onizuka, who perished aboard the Challenger Mission in 1986 and the first astronaut from the state of Hawaii. Take in this beautiful, scenic site with a deep respect for those whose lives will forever be remembered.
The Punchbowl was formed about 100,000 years ago from volcanic activity. The closest Hawaiian translation to Punchbowl is Puowaina, or the Hill of Sacrifice. Punchbowl was initially used as an altar where Hawaiians would make sacrifices and punish lawbreakers. During the reign of Kamehameha I, two cannons were installed at the rim of the crater and used to signal arrivals of respected individuals and important occasions. The cemetery opened in the late 1940s. The first burials were 776 casualties from the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Tattoo legend Norman Collins, or Sailor Jerry, is also buried at Punchbowl National Cemetery.
Facts & Trivia
- Island: Oahu
- Duration: Drive through only (Tours are not permitted to stop inside the cemetery).
- Insider Tip: Our tour guides have expert narration throughout the cemetery, listen closely!
- Fun Fact: During the reign of King Kamehameha I, two cannons were installed at the rim of the crater and used to signal arrivals of respected individuals and important occasions.
- What to Expect: View of Honolulu and wartime memorials for the all United States Military branches.
- Pop Culture: The Lady Columbia, or Lady Liberty, statue is featured in both the 1970s television series Hawaii Five-O and the 2010-2011 series.