Saturday, November 10, 2018

In Memoriam

Since Monday is Veterans Day in the United States, this post on the Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor Park seem appropriate a few days early.  It would be more appropriate for Memorial Day, but it is what it is since I just visited there.  We spent over 4 hours at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park before the hunger for lunch forced us to walk out of the park to a nearby restaurant.  I had visited this site decades ago as a poor graduate student and was a bit overwhelmed at that time before it had become so instructive.  This was a time before the lengthy audio tour by Jamie Curtis which takes you around the outside grounds and before the Road to War Museum and the Attack Museum had been built. Both museums are extensive and well done if such tragedy of man against man can be "well done".  Some say the memorial is Oahu's biggest tourist destination with 1.5 million visitors a year.  You will not regret a visit.

Once you have cleared security ( no bags allowed), you see the Tree of Life standing tall across the plaza. This was a sculpture designed by architect Alfred Preis to symbolize rebirth, renewal and a reminder that we are all interconnected.  It is near the entrance to the tour area and museums and duplicated at the far end of the actual Arizona Memorial letting light into the inside.

We could not go into the Arizona Memorial as it is sinking and needs repair.  The USS Arizona Memorial is located in Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. "The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the 1,177 service members who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The 184- foot-long (56-m) memorial spans the midportion of the sunken battleship. The memorial consists of three sections: the entry and assembly rooms; a central area designed for ceremonies and general observation; and the shrine room, where the names of those killed on the USS Arizona are engraved on the marble wall. The USS Arizona Memorial is only accessible by boat, which departs from the visitor center." 

"Originally built on a landfill designed to settle 18 inches, the museum and
the visitor center has settled 30 inches in some areas, far exceeding expectations. As a result, the lower level of the facility is nearing the water table. Repeated leveling projects to maintain the facility’s support structure has created cracks in the concrete. This deterioration has allowed moisture to permeate the concrete and sometimes reach the rebar. Engineers have assessed that the deterioration must be addressed and have given the current building a five to ten-year life expectancy. The building has settled more than expected and, as a result, some support columns are close to being over-extended. The National Park Service is dedicated to keeping the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center open and to provide a safe environment for the public. However, future planning must be done to ensure the Pearl Harbor legacy is secure for future generations."

There is a fee to get in and you can reserve tickets online to ease the long lines that are sometimes there.  It was busy during our visit, but not super crowded, and I am thankful for that.  The Arizona is still leaking oil (black tears) from her hull and the men still lie in state at the bottom of Pearl Harbor.  You get to meet the survivors through video and reprints of news stories which makes it much more meaningful.  It is a very powerful tour.

Thank you to all who serve now and who have served in the past.  We will not forget.


  1. There is a National Park video of the hull made when divers did their annual checkup. I read that it was the landing stage that's sinking. Is the whole museum sinking too? I was there in 90, not a fee anywhere then. I have a permanent NP visitor pass, and maybe that would let me in. It all sounds like so much more than when I was there.

    Here we are hoping all our friends are ok up north.

  2. I timely post. Thanks.

  3. Memorials like this are very sobering. I remember my visit to the American Cemetery in Normandy. Emotions of sadness and appreciation of dedication to nation and the wastefulness of war are all mixed together.

  4. Prayers always for Peace

  5. Let's hope the park's service will receive the funding that is needed. I hope to see this memorial someday. Also, an apt essay for this day that most certainly should be remembered by all.

  6. I recall viewing Pearl Harbor and the Memorial from a distance — very emotionally moving to me even from a distance those years ago. I was on Oahu for the burial of a military family member’s spouse’s burial in Punchbowl — the Nat’l Military Memorial Cemetary there.

  7. That is sad to know the memorial is sinking, i hope they can repair it.

    From what i gather, men who survived the Arizona sinking and the war, when they die, can choose to have their cremains put in a waterproof urn and be brought back to the Arizona.


Take your time...take a deep breath...then hit me with your best shot.