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This 112-acre national cemetery is located at Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. The locale “Puowaina” is Hawaiian for “Hill of Sacrifice.” The cemetery honors all Veteran men and women, and it especially pays tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The cemetery was originally dedicated in 1949. Honored there are about 53,000 Veterans of WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It also memorializes those killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, including those on the vessel "USS Arizona" and others in 1941. This cemetery became a final resting place of many soldiers from WWII Japanese Prisoners of War camps and war-torn areas when their remains were sent to Hawaii. Approximately 29,000 names of heroes that were Missing in Action (MIA) and Lost or Buried at Sea are honored in the 10 “Courts of the Missing.” Veterans to this day continue to choose this remarkable cemetery as their final resting place.

This is commonly called Punchbowl Cemetery on the island, because of its’ location in Punchbowl Crater, formed more than 75,000 years ago. The area is rich in history and known for Hawaiian legends over the centuries. In 1945, tunnels were dug into the craters’ rim and coastal artillery was added to protect Pearl Harbor and Honolulu Harbor. This was one of many military precautions the islanders took after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Just past the cemetery’s main entrance is a large staircase that leads up to memorial walls containing more than 28,000 Veteran’s names. At the top of the staircase is a 30-foot statue of Lady Columbia, who represents all grieving mothers. An inscription below reads:

“In 1976, this cemetery became the first to place ‘Bicentennial Medal of Honor’ headstones on 23 graves of medal recipients. This medal is the highest and most prestigious award that can be given to a United States Veteran. “

With more than 5,000,000 people visiting the cemetery each year, it’s no surprise it is one of the island’s most popular destinations. Visitors can stand on the highest edge of the crater’s rim and take in a breathtaking view of Oahu and the Pacific Ocean.

A special ceremony is held on Memorial Day each year. Every grave is marked with a flower lei, made by local school children, as a memorial thank you to each soldier.


Stone Group Architects (SGA) is a proud supporter of our Veterans and Military Memorials. While we are strong supporters, SGA is independent from the memorials and does not claim responsibility of building or funding these memorials. SGA is a verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small business (SDVOSB) architectural firm, providing planning and design services to a variety of government clients.

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