The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor commemorates the 1,102 of the 1,117 sailors lost on December 7, 1941, the day that would live on in infamy and propel the United States into WWII. Over 1 million people visit the memorial annually. It is only accessible by boat and is built over the hull of the USS Arizona. The vessel was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
Backstory and Context
The sunken remains of the ship were declared a historic landmark on May 5th, 1989. The memorial was built in 1962. In 1950, Admiral Arthur Radford attached a flagpole to the main mast of the USS Arizona and began to raise and lower the American Flag as a memorial to those who were lost in 1941. He began a campaign to build a permanent memorial but was denied in both 1951 and 1952 due to the lack of funds available drom the expenses in the Korean War. In 1958 President Eisenhower approved the creation of a national memorial there and gave it a budget of $500,000.
The memorial is built to show the American pride before the war, the depression of the nation when the attack of Pearl Harbor hit, and the rise of American power afterwards. There is a peak at both ends and a depression in the middle. There are 21 windows in the memorial which stands for a 21 gun salute which is performed at every military veterans funeral. There is a strong overtone of sadness when people visit the memorial. There is an opening in the floor of the memorial that looks directly down onto the decks of the USS Arizona and this is where people go to pay their respects to the fallen, generally by tossing flowers into the water.
The memorial is free to the public for visiting purposes and also offers a museum detailing the events of the Pearl Harbor attack and showing different artifacts from the attack and wreckage. Access to the memorial is by way of a US Navy boat and only a certain number of tickets are given away to the public to get on the boat. 4,500 tickets are allocated for each day. The large crowds make the ticket a hard one to get. Before you go to the memorial on the boat you watch a 25 minute documentary showing the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many of the estimated 30 crew members who survived the attack choose to be buried in the ship after they pass and the families of the deceased can also choose to do so. Visiting Pearl Harbor and seeing the USS Arizona is an incredibly sobering experience and one that if you have the opportunity to do so you should definitely take.
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