The history of California stands in great contrast to the history of the USA's Eastern lands. There was some Spanish Mission activity dating back for several hundred years, but Native Americans representing hundreds of different tribes and several language groups dominated the California scene until about 1849 when the Gold Rush to California's Gold Country near Sacramento changed California's future quickly and dramatically.
Few California miners ever struck it rich or even stayed in the West, but the huge influx of miners along with businesses to serve the mining communities turned forts into towns and towns into larger cities. Soon, California was a key destination for American's westward migration.
The USS Arizona Memorial rests dramatically above the wreckage of the sunken battleship at Pearl Harbor. Inside is a memorial to the sailors lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor of December 7th, 1944 which began the US War with Japan. Germany declared war on the USA four days later.
The only access to the USS Arizona Memorial is by boat. Free tickets are available at the Pearl Harbor Museum which generally have you returning later in the day for the boat trip. Consider going early in the day to pick up your tickets and if there is a long wait for your boat you can take a shuttle to visit the USS Missouri which offers an excellent tour of the ship on which the US accepted the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. As of December 2007 admission to the USS Missouri is $16 and a guided tour is an extra $7. The USS Missouri is well worth the price and the money goes to preserve the ship and provide interpretive services. You may want to eat lunch in the working galley.