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Pearl Harbor: USS Arizona Memorial

On December 7, 1941 a squadron of Japanese naval aircraft conducted an attack on US military bases in Hawaii, including the Naval Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. Two waves of aircraft attacked resulting in the destruction of a number of ships and the loss of 2,402 military personnel. The attack was completely unexpected, especially in light of the fact that Japan was in negotiations with the US at the time. President Roosevelt called December 7th a “date which will live in infamy.”

The USS Arizona is one of the battleships that was sunk that morning. A high altitude aircraft released a bomb which ignited the forward ammunition magazine, resulting in a tremendous explosion, sinking the ship and killing 1177 crewmen on board.

In 1962 a memorial was built arching over the remains of the USS Arizona. The memorial is only accessible via boat which leaves from the front visitor center.

It can accommodate up to 200 people. The atmosphere was somber, allowing for a reflection of the loss of that day, so far removed from my generation.

From inside you can look down upon the fuselage. It still leaks nearly a quart of oil a day into the harbor. Called the “Tears of the Arizona”, survivors say it will continue to leak until the last survivor has passed.

A wall commemorates those who lost their lives on the ship that day.

In front of the wall is a listing of survivors who have subsequently died and have chosen to have their remains buried with their colleagues below.

A somber experience, but a good reminder of the price of freedom.

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