The USS Arizona Memorial is a national monument honoring those who served in the Pacific Theatre during and after the Japanese naval assault on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The memorial structure is built on and directly over the rusted remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona.
The loss of life on the Arizona represents more than half of all the Americans killed on December 7, 1941. Additionally, it represents the greatest number of casualties on any American warship ever.
Now a garden setting
If you have never been to the memorial lately, you’ll be much impressed with the park like setting at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center.
While at the Center, make certain to see the 23-minute film and sound tour that brings that fateful morning at Pearl Harbor to life.
The displays at the Center are designed to pull visitors deftly to that particular moment in history, as they relive the events and politics leading up to the Japanese attack.
The presentations are poignant – be prepared for a holistic experience you will not forget.
A solemn journey
It’s a short and quiet ride.
After pulling alongside the monument, passengers disembark and walk up to the Bat Control cenotaph resting on the Arizona.
They are now resting beneath your toes.
Visitors speak in whispers, tears are observable, eyes are cast down into the entombing water, and minds imagine the confusion and utter insanity of the December morning so long ago. It all seems surreal to the observers who now stand at the gentle Hawaiian breeze – safely atop the remains of the Arizona.
The ultimate sacrifice
One can only wonder what life may have held in store for the one-thousand and sailors and soldiers below – if they had been aboard the Arizona on this fateful day. Had they lived, what famous Americans might they’ve fathered for our generation, what greatness might they’ve achieved? America moved forward, one-thousand heroes remain at their post.
The tears of the Arizona
Seventy-five decades later, oil seeps from the sunken battleship. It randomly appears on the water’s surface – then like a spirit – it floats slowly away. Observers have named the oil manifestations”the tears of the Arizona.”
Make Sure You visit the USS Arizona Memorial
For some, it’s an awakening and first time understanding about the many Americans that have sacrificed everything to keep our nation free.
The USS Missouri
The Arizona Memorial is now symbolically guarded by the ever-vigilant USS Missouri battleship. “Big Mo,” is permanently docked in Pearl – just up-harbor from the Arizona. The Missouri fought in and survived WWII and her deck was the historical site of the official surrender of Japan in 1945. It seems fitting that a battleship that engaged in ending the war in the Pacific, should rest close to the dreadnought which was the earliest casualty of the conflict.
The great Missouri went on to fight in Korea, and Operation Desert Storm. She was decommissioned in 1992, and took up her post as quiet sentinel for the Arizona in 1999.
The USS Missouri has the distinction of being the last active battleship in the world.
If you go
Happy travels – Remember our troops, not only today, but always.
Wayne and Judy Bayliff are photojournalists who travel the world looking for exceptional vacation getaways. They photograph and write about romantic, luxury, unique, historic, and exclusive hotels, lodgings, eateries, cruises, and airlines. Their subjects are sometimes unusual, but always fun!