Pearl Harbor Hosts Rare Declaration of Independence Document

An original copy of the Declaration of Independence is coming to the Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center this month. One of 25 copies in existence, the rare document will be on display April 19 – 20, 7 am – 7 pm. All visitors are welcome to experience this historic artifact first-hand. Admission to the visitor’s center is free. In 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, US government officials ordered the original Declaration of Independence to be moved to a vault in Fort Knox. Along with the original US Constitution, the historic artifact remained at Fort Knox throughout World War II. On July 4, 1776, Philadelphia printer John Dunlap printed a few hundred copies of the Declaration. Two centuries later, only 24 copies were left in existence. That is, until a man discovered the 25th copy at a Pennsylvania flea market in 1989. After purchasing a painting for its attractive frame, the man discovered a document worth millions more than the $4 he spent. The exhibit is part of the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, a multimedia exhibit featuring a video with Reese Witherspoon discussing why the Declaration is the most treasured document in America’s history. Another short film, produced at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, features a moving performance by notable Hollywood actors, including:
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Mel Gibson
  • Benicio del Toro
  • Rene Zellweger
  • Michael Douglas
Producer Norman Lear and his wife purchased the original copy during an auction in 2000. Soon after, the couple started a cross-country tour to exhibit the document in all 50 states. Hawaii is the 44th state on the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, a multimedia exhibit designed to inspire Americans of all ages in all corners of the country.
“When I first looked at the Declaration of Independence, my eyes welled up. I thought – this is our nation’s birth certificate, the people’s document, and it should visit Americans, rather than sit somewhere on a wall waiting for Americans to come to it, as a reminder of the freedoms we all cherish.” – Norman Lear
The new Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center opened on December 7, 2010. Tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial are available on a first-come, first-serve basis from 8 am – 3 pm. Discover Hawaii Tours offers a variety of tour options to Pearl Harbor and throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

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