Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Because half of the lives lost in the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on the USS Arizona, the battleship’s loss became symbolic of the United States’ entry into World War II.
In 1962, the USS Arizona Memorial was completed. The memorial was placed over the sunken battleship across the middle. The memorial doesn’t touch the ship out of respect for the 1,102 sailors and marines interred there.
The above picture shows the USS Arizona memorial (center left) where the war started from the deck of the USS Missouri Battleship where the war ended.
Getting to the USS Arizona Memorial starts at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites Visitor Center. Of all of the individual activities available at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites Visitor Center, the USS Arizona Memorial is the busiest. On-line reservations are definitely recommended.
The Visitor Center complex is fenced in and access is through a security checkpoint. A number of items are not allowed in the Visitor Center so refer to Bag Policy and Safety Information for the current rules. For example, large purses and bags aren’t allowed unless they are see through. Photographers need to leave their camera bags behind.
Parking is a problem. It fills up before lunch. On weekends and holidays parking lots are full nearly all day long. Signs throughout the parking lot warn drivers not to leave valuables in cars. Cars do get broken into. Street parking away from the Visitor Center might be an alternative when lots are full.
Once through the Entrance/security checkpoint, visitors need to head toward “Tickets & Information” to pickup or purchase their tickets.
Picking up tickets? Pick them up at the ticket counter at least 1 hour before ticket time.
All USS Arizona Memorial visitors are required to watch an orientation movie before heading over to the site. The movie is held every 30 minutes in the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater. Visitors start getting in line as the previous group is entering the theater. Best strategy is to arrive at the theater 30 minutes before the time printed on the ticket. When reservation/ticket holders don’t show up on time, the first people in line for the next show are given the option to enter the theater before their assigned time.
The movie sets the historical context for the memorial site. It also covers the etiquette visitors are expected to observe to ensure that all visitors are respectful of the sacrifices made by the sailors and marines interred in the USS Arizona wreckage.
At the end of the movie, visitors move through the exits toward the dock.
Once the visitors have boarded and are seated in the US Navy boat, lines are cast off and the boat begins the short trip to the memorial site.
The morning winds were calm making the crossing smooth. The light was perfect for site seeing.
As the US Navy Boat approaches the memorial, it slows down and prepares to maneuver. Once docked, passengers disembark and the crew readies to load passengers for the return trip.
As the current group comes into the memorial, the previous group is lined up on the left side to return back to the Visitor Center.
The memorial is sobering and encourages thoughtful contemplation.
At the far end of the memorial, the names of the fallen are inscribed in marble.
Groups talked quietly and respectfully to each other. Individuals kept their thoughts to themselves.
The Battleship Missouri can be seen from the memorial. The memorial representing the beginning of WW II and the Mighty Missouri represents the end.
As a US Navy Boat arrives with the next group, the current group is told to line up to prepare for boarding.
The next group disembarks from the US Navy Boat and enters the memorial.
Once the next group is off the boat and the boat’s crew is ready for the return, the previous group begins boarding.
Heading back to the Visitor Center, visitors will likely pass another group headed toward the memorial.
The boat returns the visitors to same dock by the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater.
After disembarking, visitors leave the dock and walk around the left side of the Theater.
This was our fifth visit to the USS Arizona Memorial. Lest we ever forget, we will keep returning to pay our respects to the fallen who sacrificed so much so that we might be free.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!