April 03, 2019 4 min read

It happens all the time.

You're in Hawaii looking for that perfect souvenir or gift to bring back home so that you'll remember this trip forever.

The Pearl Harbor bookstore is just one of many souvenir shops you'll run into while traveling Hawaii, but its contents are singular. The experience you'll have at the USS Arizona Memorial is unforgettable and some of you may shed a tear for the lives that ended too early on December 7, 1941.

To be able to step foot on Pearl Harbor today and be educated on the events of the "day of infamy" is a significant step toward understanding the value of human life. Many of our visitors come into our store looking for a small trinket or neat souvenir to memorialize their time here - and it's easy to understand why.

We've decided to gather up our staff members who work the bookstore daily to find out what they believe are the must-have souvenirs from Pearl Harbor. These are your cashiers, t-shirt folders and restockers that talk to customers who've just finished their emotional USS Arizona Memorial boat tour.

And hands down, these are their top 5 Pearl Harbor souvenirs that you shouldn't leave without.

 

1. Flown Flags At Pearl Harbor

Flown Flags At Pearl Harbor

Without question, our flown flags at Pearl Harbor are the best souvenirs, period. They're not just unique (how many people can say they own a flag flown at Pearl Harbor?), but also make for an emotional gift for many. Most of the flags at the bookstore are flown on Dec 7 each year (and a few on July 4), but it's also possible to have a flag flown on a date you choose from our online shop.

Click to see our online flown flag collection

If you have a soldier, veteran or even an American history buff in the family, our flown flags from Pearl Harbor make for a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime gift. Don't miss our shadowboxes, too. We've got a few that frame American flags fabulously. My personal favorite are the koa wood shadowboxes!

 

2. Jewelry From Our Sadako Collection

Jewelry from our Sadako collection

Not many people know about the story of Sadako Sasaki until they come to Pearl Harbor. It's a true story of a young Japanese girl whose life changed drastically 10 years after the atom bomb dropped.

Throughout her illness, her determination to fold 1,000 paper cranes has enraptured people worldwide. Although she did not quite make it to 1,000 paper cranes, her classmates completed her mission and we even have one of Sadako's final paper cranes displayed 

Sadako is a central part of life here at Pearl Harbor. Many schools in Japan mail over their handfolded paper cranes with words of hope and peace that visitors can take home as a memorable souvenir.

Click to see our online Sadako collection

 

3. Pearl Harbor Books

Pearl Harbor Books

You just can't choose one book when it comes to Pearl Harbor. Each is uniquely different and finding "the best" book is not an easy task. Even our store staff at Pearl Harbor find this question unanswerable.

Each person has their favorites in terms of writing style and topic, but it really depends on what you want to read. Do you want a detailed overview from both the American and Japanese side of the attack? Then At Dawn We Slept is the book you need to get. Or, perhaps you'd rather just have the American account of the attack? Try reading Day of Infamy for a surreal account of the Pearl Harbor bombing.

But if you're looking for something really unique, then our survivor books are truly one of a kind. Not many survivors choose to tell their story and each experience is as different as the next. All are great reads and come highly recommended by our staff.

Click to see our Pearl Harbor books

 

4. Tree Of Life Oil On Water Photo

Tree of Life Oil on Water photo

Only those who've visited the USS Arizona Memorial up close understand what this photo is about. The oil from the USS Arizona continues to slowly leak out from the ship and creates a beautiful, yet heartbreaking mural of colors.

If you've been lucky enough to have spoken to the original photographer, Jerome A Kaufman, you'll know that these drops of oil are referred to as "Black Tears" - a fitting name for an event where so many lost their lives.

Click to see the Tree of Life Oil on Water photo

 

5. Exclusive Pearl Harbor T-Shirts

Exclusive Pearl Harbor T-Shirts

Shirts are a huge souvenir seller no matter where you go, but here at Pearl Harbor, we have some exclusive and limited shirts that you can't get anywhere else. Our designs are something special and are certainly memorable.

They make fantastic gifts for friends and family with a Pearl Harbor connection and most of them can only be bought at the Pearl Harbor bookstore or our online shop.

Click for our online Pearl Harbor shirts

 

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Amy Fujimoto
Amy Fujimoto


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Great customer service!

Our staff purchased the flag for our boss! He loved it! Probably the best gift we have given. We appreciate the time Jo gave in making this gift the best! Thank you Jo!

Alive again

I was aware of the WASPs in World War II, but I did not even come close to knowing the acronym (Women Airforce Service Pilots). I learned via this book about the quality and quantity of contributions to the World War II effort, but also about the sacrifices and lack of recognition to them as an organization and as individuals. I observe the quality photographs in this book bring their stories to us as real people of just a generation or so ago. The quality of the book lends itself well to have out on the table so that our guests might ask about it, and we might have an invitation to inform and give a gift from of the past that might inspire us today.

FRUSTRATED

Putting designs on the BACK of a t-shirt defeats the entire purpose.........put the design on the FRONT of the t-shirt where people can actually see it!!!!!!!! More money wasted.

Just what I wanted

The bracelet is just what I wanted. My mom is dying and one of the last trips we took was to the Arizona Memorial. She lost a brother during WWII, we heard stories about that day

Fantastic customer service!!!

After my flag arrived I called Jo to tell her USPS destroyed the box and it was wet.
Certificate was crumpled and the flag insert torn. Jo immediately packed up a new certificate and flag insert. Took a picture to show me how well it was packaged. Arrived in perfect condition. Jo, I commend you on a job well done!!!
Thank you!