The USS Arizona Memorial honors all American service members who lost their lives during the attack on Dec. 7, 1941. The 184-foot long memorial was constructed above the mid-portion of the sunken battleship. Every year, approximately 1.5 million visitors come here to pay their respects.
After riding a Navy shuttle boat across Pearl Harbor, we walked on a ramp that led us to the memorial.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Third Class Katherine Farrell is one of the crew members who took us to the memorial.
In the Entry Room, you’ll find flags of the nine states for whom the eight battleships and the USS Utah were named. All nine ships were docked in Pearl Harbor during the Day of Infamy; eight were located on Battleship Row.
On the other side of the Entry Room you’ll see the flags of the United States, the state of Hawaii, the Department of the Interior, and a flag representing each branch of the United States Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard).
The USS Arizona Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1962.
Private funds donated by Americans and a $100,000 donation from the state of Hawaii helped to make this memorial possible.
Drops of oil still leak from the USS Arizona. “When you see and smell that oil, you’ll be transported instantaneously to Dec. 7, 1941,” says park historian Daniel Martinez. “It’s the same oil that has been leaking from the ship since then.”
“Some people say the ship is still bleeding and others consider the oil to be sending a message to people,” says park historian Daniel Martinez.
Drops of oil magically appeared on the water’s surface, some shiny silver, some as iridescent as a mother of pearl shell. The oil droplets are sometimes referred to as the “tears of the Arizona.” Pearl Harbor survivors refer to them as “black tears.”
A picture of the ship’s severed mainmast. Attached to it is the memorial’s flagpole.
Looking into the USS Arizona’s severed mainmast. You can see the base of the flagpole in the bottom right-hand corner of this picture.
A young visitor takes a closer look at the diagram of the USS Arizona.
A section of the diagram also serves as a guide to understanding what parts of the USS Arizona can be seen above or just below the water.
A young woman pauses to reflect on what’s left of the USS Arizona as she looks at the ship’s remains just below the water.
A ghostly view of the USS Arizona just below the water’s surface.
The shrine room is often the area most visitors shy away from because the carved names on the marble wall can be overwhelming.
More than 900 sailors and marines are still entombed on the USS Arizona.
A woman pays her respects in the shrine room.
Next to the names of the fallen are the names of 31 USS Arizona survivors who requested to be reunited with their shipmates after they pass away.
James Evans Cory (listed as J.E. Cory) was recently interred with his shipmates this year on May 12—nearly thirty years after he passed away in Dallas. Pfc. Cory is the first Marine to be buried aboard the USS Arizona since World War II.
As we were about to leave the USS Arizona Memorial, it began to rain. It was as if the heavens were crying, too.
A final glance at the empty Assembly Room left me with a feeling of sadness.
A view of the USS Missouri before leaving the USS Arizona Memorial.
The American flag above the USS Arizona Memorial.
Boarding the boat to return back to the visitors center.
Visitors give a final glance at the USS Arizona Memorial as a woman wipes away her tears.