Pearl Harbor: At Peace

A serene memorial at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii is placed over the lost souls of the USS Arizona. I visited the memorial some time ago on a family vacation and the experience has always stayed with me.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Army launched an aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, a United States naval base. The attack caused considerable damage and death and sank the USS Arizona. The memorial is a somber reminder of the lost of life that day.

USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona was hit by several air-dropped armor-piercing bombs. One detonated explosive-filled magazine hit the USS Arizona that killed 1,177 servicemen. The ship was irreversibly damaged and could not be repaired for World War II. The ship remains under the memorial in 40 feet of water.

In 1958, legislation was approved for the creation of the memorial, however, no federal money was allocated for the memorial. As crazy as it seems, donations were solicited. In 1961, Elvis Presley staged a concert in Pearl Harbor to raise money for the memorial. On May 30, 1962, the USS Arizona Memorial was officially dedicated. I

The memorial is a white concrete and steel structure 184 feet long and spans the wreckage. The design is a concave silhouette with the middle section representing the country’s low point and the raised ends represents victory. The 21 open windows represent a 21-gun salute.

The day before the attack, the USS Arizona had a full load of fuel which was 1.5 million gallons. Much of that fuel fed the explosion on the day of the attack. Despite fires and time, 500,000 gallons are slowly seeping out of the wreckage. The USS Arizona continues to leak 9 quarts of oil into the harbor each year. Many who visit the memorial refer to the oil as ‘black tears’of the Arizona.

Upon entering the Shrine Room, there is a massive marble wall that lists 1,177 names of the officers, sailors, and Marines that were killed. As of May 2023, there is one remaining survivor of the USS Arizona who is 101 years young and lives in California. He was 20 years old at the time of the attack.

Shrine Room

Things to Do at Pearl Harbor

  • USS Arizona Memorial
    • Visit takes 75 minutes.
    • Free to visit but tickets are required.
    • Navy Ship shuttles visitors back and forth from the visitor center.
  • Battleship Missouri Memorial
    • Admission Required
    • Free shuttle from Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
  • Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
    • Admission Required
    • Free shuttle from Pearl Harbor Visitor Center-stops at Battleship first.
  • Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum
    • Admission Required
USS Arizona Memorial


18 thoughts on “Pearl Harbor: At Peace

  1. This would be an interesting place to visit. And an emotional one I imagine too, given what it represents. Memorials are important. Thank you for sharing!

  2. It is a great post! I loved your pictures too. I hope we will go to Pearl Harbor with our sons one day.

      1. Thanks a lot for such a detailed blog post! I learned many things that I hadn’t know.

  3. A different type of trip or place to visit other than just a “fun” place. Learning about history is fascinating and I love it a lot more now as an adult!

Leave a Reply