The Arizona Memorial, home to 1,177 heros.
On my first visit to Ha,aii, many years ago, I visited the Arizona Memorial with a cousin who was living there at the time. I didn’t have any real desire to go to see a memorial, with so much to see in my limited time on the island, there were other things that held more interest. My cousin, being nice, arranged the trip so off I went. We first walked through a building with newspapers from December 7th, seeing the headlines and photos; this started to be about real people and not just a structure. I boarded a ferry that took me out to the Memorial, which sits across the submerged ship. As I stood on the Memorial looking down at the ship, I realized how many men were lost and how young they were, there is a list on a marble wall with the names of the 1,177 lost on that Sunday morning. I was given a poem to read and realized I was too emotional to read it. As families left flowers for their lost loved ones, I boarded the ferry and return to shore; it was a quiet and reflective trip. Now, after many years and visits to the Memorial, I was back with a friend who was visiting Hawaii for the first time. There have been changes through the years, there is now a Visitors Center and courtyard that looks out at the Memorial. When you arrive you are given a ticket with a number, it can take a while to be called, this is the most visited attraction in Oahu. When you are called you enter a theater and are shown a 20 minute film on the bombing of Pearl Harbor, at the end of the film everyone is quiet as they go out to the ferry for the ride over to the Memorial. There are less family members visiting, so many years have passed, maybe that is why I especially noticed the few older visitors, the ones that remember December 7th – or was it that I miss my Dad, who was in the Navy and now is gone. Once again the Memorial brought me to tears. The Arizona is still considered an active ship in the U.S. Navy and flies the flag.
When planning your visit, don’t go on a day when a cruise ship is in port, as the lines will be even longer then usual. Go early as tickets are given out on a first come bases and sometime run out. If you have a long wait you can go over to visit the USS Bowfin, a submarine, and museum and then return to the Arizona. In this area you will also find the USS Missouri, where the signing of the Terms of Surrender took place.
I’m not a monument person, but I do recommend a visit to the Arizona Memorial, home to 1,177 heroes.