Aloha Fridays: USS Arizona & Pearl Harbor

There were too many places for me to eat and visit than what I had time for.  No matter what was on our schedule, my husband and I wanted to take some time visiting Pearl Harbor.  The military have had a long history in Hawaii.  Being there reminds me of when I visited a concentration camp in Germany.  Pearl Harbor is a place of remembrance and quiet reflection.

Pearl Harbor actually contains several memorial sites.  In addition to the USS Arizona, you can also visit the Battleship Missouri and USS Bowfin submarine.  Since this is a national park, visiting the USS Arizona is free but be forewarned that many tour groups come and your wait may be 3 - 4 hours during peak times (in the meantime you can visit the Pacific Aviation Museum).  

Additionally, you cannot bring any bags or purses (not even diaper bags or large camera bags!) into the memorial site.  They have lockers available but just remember to keep your personal items to a minimum when visiting.

Architect Alfred Preis designed The Tree of Life as a symbol of eternal renewal for the Pearl Harbor memorial site.  This design is also on the memorial itself.  According to a park ranger, the original design was to include stained glass but opted to leave it out to allow the fresh breeze to flow through.

This is the way the USS Arizona sits underneath the memorial today.  

When we visited a few weeks ago, the water near the memorial has an iridescent shimmer on the surface from the oil still coming from beneath.  It's estimated that the oil will still surface for 100 more years.

From the USS Arizona Memorial you can see the Battleship Missouri on one side.

And the remaining part of the USS Arizona on the other.

When you enter the sanctuary, the names of those who lost their lives are engraved on the wall.  This is only a partial list.  The park ranger spoke about brothers who lost their lives, sometimes a father and son.  It made me think about how difficult it must have been for wives and mothers at that time.  

On the far left hand side there are names of survivors of the Pearl Harbor attacks who wish to have their remains buried at the memorial.  Men who want to be buried next to their brothers in combat or someone in their immediate family.

It is not my wish that my son ever enter the military but whether or not he does, I want him to have respect for those who have given their lives to protect our country.  

The museum does show more gruesome pictures of the war (which I did not take pictures of).  There are also stories of men who after escaping from the sinking ships, swam through burning oil on the surface of the water to begin aiding others who were wounded once they swam ashore to Ford Island. 

The museum also provides video clips, images and interviews from the Japanese perspective too.  "Three things were the key elements to the attack," Akagi torpedo plane pilot Lieutenant Jinichi Goto later explained.  "Speed must be 160 knots per hour.  The nose must be horizontal to the sea, and altitude 20 meters.  We were told if one even one of these were off...we would miss the target." 

"Forty torpedo bombers attacked ships along Battleship row, 1010 pier, and the north side of Ford Island.  Torpedos blasted holes as large as 40 feet (12 m) wide in heavily armored ships, including the California, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Nevada, Helena, Raleigh, and Utah.  The Utah and Oklahoma capsized within minutes." - Museum of Pacific Aviation.  A torpedo from the attack, pictured below, was recently found in Hawaiian waters.  It had apparently failed to detonate.

"The first wave of the attack began at 0755 and a second strike begins an hour later.  By 0955 the attack is over.  In that time frame, four battleships were sunk, 2 destroyers sunk, 188 aircraft destroyed and 2,402 military personnel killed."   - Wikipedia.

When we visited the memorial 40s music was softly playing in the background.  It was a beautiful sunny day probably not unlike the day of the attacks on December 7, 1941.  

"Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them." President Franklin D. Roosevelt


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post about Pearl Harbor. It is something near and dear to me. My father was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was on the USS Shaw, a communications ship. It was blown to pieces and sunk. My Father never really talked about it much only to say that he was not a hero and that he was only serving his country with honor.

    I was always very proud of him.

    thanks for sharing.


  2. Your father was a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack? Wow! That is amazing. I can see why he didn't want to speak of the memories he had. They probably haunted him for years afterward. Most of the men in my family have served in the military. It's an honorable legacy to have. I'm so happy you shared a bit of your family history Sissie! Thank you :)


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