Boat Tours to Pearl Harbor’s infamous Battleship Row are operating.
Pearl Harbor is still open and visitors can see the Battleship Missouri, Bowfin Submarine, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center Exhibits, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. As always, tours may be suspended at times due to unsafe weather conditions.
Pearl Harbor Memorials
Attack on the USS Arizona:
Over the years the USS Arizona has become significantly iconic, one of the primary symbols associated with Pearl Harbor and that fateful day on December 7th 1941. While the Arizona was dealt devastating blows throughout the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first blow came from a member of its own fleet, the USS Oklahoma. During a training exercise prior to the attack a torpedo from the Oklahoma hit the Arizona causing the Arizona to be dry docked while it was repaired.
When the Japanese planes descended upon Pearl Harbor the USS Arizona was amongst the first to be struck, with an 800-kilogram bomb dropping on the starboard side prompting the gunpowder onboard to ignite and explode, further exasperating the damages and causing the ship to buckle in the center. This explosion proved to be fatal, of the 1,512 crewmen aboard the USS Arizona, 1,177 perished in this explosion.
The oil that leaked from the ship caused widespread fires not only across the ship itself but across the harbor. The fire was so intense that it still burned for days after the attack and which now produces the tears of the Arizona, oil that can still be seen at the memorial leaking from the ship up to the surface.
The Arizona Memorial:
During the remainder of the war the Arizona was left in its resting place at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and its outer structure was lifted while plans were made to construct a memorial based around the sunken battleship. In 1949 the Pacific War Memorial Commission was developed with the task of building a memorial somewhere in Hawaii. A year later an admiral and commander of the Pacific Fleet had secured a flagpole to the Arizona and a resulting temporary memorial was built around this.
Years later in 1958 when President Eisenhower approved a national memorial the debate began as to whether the memorial should represent only those that died aboard the Arizona or those that perished in the Pacific as a whole during World War II. Ultimately it was decided that the memorial would represent and be dedicated to those that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. Alfred Preis who was told by the Navy that the USS Arizona Memorial should take the shape of a bridge floating above the Arizona designed the memorial now famous throughout the world. The final form taken by the memorial, a bridge forming a cross above the sunken ship, had a mixed reception from critics who didn’t like that it sagged in the middle between the two peaks at each end of the bridge.
The bridge is broken up into three sections, the entry, assembly room and shrine. As one walks through from the entry and into the assembly room light streams in from the 21 windows on the walls and ceiling, centering upon a circular opening in the floor that provides a glimpse of the USS Arizona resting below. At the far end of the memorial lies the shrine, a white marble wall inscribed with the names of those that died on the Arizona during the attack.
Access of the Memorial:
Over one million people visit the Arizona Memorial each year. The memorial can be reached by boats that launch off from the visitors center on the shore of the harbor. Because of the limited capacity of the memorial to hold large amounts of people and needing to be reached by boat, tickets are somewhat limited though they are included as part of a tour package.