Nicknamed “Punchbowl” after its dramatic setting—a crater formed 75,000 to 100,000 years ago—the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is the final resting place for approximately 53,000 World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans and their dependents. Appropriately, the cemetery’s Hawaiian name is Puowaina, which means Hill of Sacrifice.
Dignitaries buried there include Daniel Inouye, who represented Hawaii in the U.S. Senate for 50 years, from 1962 to 2012; John Burns, Hawaii’s governor from 1962 to 1974; and Ellison Onizuka, one of the seven astronauts who died when the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle exploded on lift-off on January 28, 1986.
Each year, more than five million people come to pay their respects at this scenic, tranquil spot, which has become one of Hawaii’s most popular visitor destinations. A spectacular view of Honolulu can be seen from the highest point on the crater’s rim, and on Memorial Day, Boy Scouts place a fresh flower lei on every grave. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.