One of the most beautiful national cemeteries in the United States lies in a dormant volcanic crater.
The Punchbowl, an oval volcanic crater in which sits the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, rises 461 feet above sea level on the island of Oahu, offering breathtaking views of Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, and Honolulu. It is thought to have been formed by the ancient ejection of lava from coral beds at the foot of Ko’olau Mountain Range on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
This crater has a long human history. Its Hawaiian name is Puowaina, most often translated as the Hill of Sacrifice. Here, early Oahu natives sacrificed the offenders of certain taboos as human offerings to their gods. When the army of Kamehameha the Great invaded Oahu in May of 1795, the natives made Puowaina their stronghold. They were unable to defend the island against the army, however, and Kamehameha conquered Oahu, unifying the islands in 1810. During his reign, two cannons sat at the rim of the crater and were fired to celebrate important occasions.
The slopes of Puowaina opened to outside settlement in the late 1880’s, and the Hawaii National Guard used it for a rifle range during the 1930’s. Shore batteries were installed upon its rim during World War II to defend Honolulu Harbor and the southern edge of Pearl Harbor.
In February of 1948, Congress approved the funding for a cemetery to hold the remains of war dead from World War II’s Pacific Theater. On January 4, 1949, an unknown American soldier killed in the Pearl Harbor attack was buried there, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific opened to the public on July 19, 1949. This beautiful memorial park to America’s war heroes now contains the remains of more than 53,000 souls, and more than five million people visit the park each year.
Who Is Lady Justice?
Crowning one wall of Puowaina Crater and within the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific stands a Court of Honor, comprising a nonsectarian chapel and two map galleries. At the center of the court near the head of a massive stone stairway, the statue “Lady Justice” stands majestically upon a symbolic ship prow, holding a laurel branch in one hand. She is known variously as Lady Columbia, Lady Liberty, or Lady Justice.
Most of us are familiar with the drawings of Uncle Sam, the congenial, bearded gent who symbolized America dressed in a red, white, and blue suit and top hat. Before Uncle Sam graced recruitment posters, early America was represented by a woman named “Amèrique.” The depiction of America as “Lady Columbia” began in 1697 when Chief Justice Samuel Sewall of the Massachusetts Bay Colony suggested the name Columbina (a feminized version of Columbus) for the colonies.
The name evolved into Columbia in a poem written by former slave Phillis Wheatley and was used during succeeding wars. The anthem “Hail, Columbia” was America’s unofficial anthem until the adoption of the “Star Bangled Banner” in 1931.
The 19th century saw the rise of “Lady Liberty” associated with the Statue of Liberty and the popularization of Uncle Sam.
Coming next week: The Enoch Generation
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This weekly series follows the story line of the Christian thriller Blood Falls. Each episode occurs in chronological order, giving context, perspective, and Biblical foundation for the novel. Discover the true stories and incredible facts behind the book! See the entire series here: https://cmaddict.com/tag/behind-blood-falls/