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.