The USS Arizona Memorial, located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is a tribute to the sailors and marines who lost their lives during the surprise attack on December 7, 1941. The Memorial is a solemn reminder of the sacrifice made by the brave men and women who fought to defend the United States during World War II. In this article, we will explore the history of the USS Arizona, the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the significance of the Memorial.
History of the USS Arizona
The USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship commissioned by the United States Navy in 1916. During World War I, the Arizona was used to transport American troops to Europe. After the war, the Arizona underwent a major overhaul and was modernized to become a flagship for the Pacific Fleet. In the late 1930s, tensions between Japan and the United States were escalating, and the Arizona was one of several battleships stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a deterrent to Japanese aggression.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. The attack was carried out by a fleet of Japanese bombers, torpedo planes, and fighter planes. The Arizona was hit by several bombs, which caused a massive explosion that sank the ship and killed over 1,000 sailors and marines.
The aftermath of the attack was devastating. The United States declared war on Japan, and the country was plunged into World War II. The attack on Pearl Harbor is considered one of the most significant events in American history, and it led to the United States’ involvement in the war.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a turning point in the history of the United States. It was the first time that the country had been attacked on its own soil since the War of 1812. The attack led to a massive outpouring of patriotism and a determination to defeat the Axis powers.
The USS Arizona was not the only ship that was attacked during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese also targeted several other battleships, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. The total number of American casualties was over 2,400, and the attack destroyed or damaged more than 20 American ships and nearly 300 aircraft.
One of the reasons why the USS Arizona Memorial is so significant is that it is the final resting place of over 1,000 sailors and marines who lost their lives during the attack. The ship remains submerged beneath the Memorial, and the bodies of many of the sailors who died on the ship were never recovered. The Memorial serves as a powerful reminder of the human cost of war and the sacrifices made by those who fought to defend their country.
The USS Arizona Memorial is also significant because it represents the beginning of the United States’ involvement in World War II. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States had maintained a policy of neutrality in the war. However, after the attack, the country was forced to enter the war and fight against the Axis powers.
The USS Arizona Memorial
In 1949, the Pacific War Memorial Commission was established to create a memorial to honor the lives lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial was officially dedicated on May 30, 1962, and it has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Hawaii.
The Memorial is built over the remains of the USS Arizona, and it is designed to evoke a sense of peace and reflection. The structure is a simple white platform that stretches over the sunken battleship. The names of the sailors and marines who lost their lives on the Arizona are inscribed on the Memorial’s walls.
Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial
Visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial can take a guided tour that includes a short documentary film about the attack on Pearl Harbor and a boat ride to the Memorial. The boat ride takes visitors across the harbor to the Memorial, where they can spend time reflecting on the sacrifices made by the sailors and marines who lost their lives.
The Memorial is open daily from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, and admission is free. Due to its popularity, visitors are encouraged to arrive early to secure a spot on the boat tour. The Memorial is accessible to visitors with disabilities, and there are special accommodations available for those who need them.
In addition to the USS Arizona Memorial, there are several other sites at Pearl Harbor that are worth visiting. The Pacific Aviation Museum, located on Ford Island, features exhibits and displays that tell the story of aviation in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The Battleship Missouri Memorial is also located at Pearl Harbor and allows visitors to explore the decks of the famous battleship where the Japanese surrender was signed, effectively ending World War II.
Visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial can also learn about the lives of the sailors and marines who served on the ship through exhibits and displays located in the Memorial’s visitor center. The exhibits include photographs, artifacts, and personal stories of the men who served on the ship, providing visitors with a glimpse into the lives of those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The USS Arizona Memorial is a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who fought to defend the United States during World War II. The Memorial serves as a tribute to the sailors and marines who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it is a place of reflection and remembrance for visitors from around the world. If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial should be at the top of your list of must-see attractions.