Floating silently above the sunken remains of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor lies one of Hawaii’s most visited yet sobering landmarks—the USS Arizona Memorial. This national memorial honors the 1,177 sailors and Marines who died on the USS Arizona during the infamous Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.
Accessible only by boat, the 184-foot memorial structure straddles the sunken hull of the legendary battleship without touching it—a sad white marble wall engraved with the names of the USS Arizona’s fallen greets visitors who disembark. One can glimpse the wreckage beneath the waters by looking down through openings on the floor.
The memorial’s architecture provokes reflection, with sagging middle walls and strong vertical ends representing the country’s initial defeat but ultimate victory. Oil still seeps from the Arizona’s wreckage, poignantly called “black tears.” A visitor center onshore documents the Pearl Harbor attack through exhibits and artifacts.
The USS Arizona Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1962, after being funded mainly through private donations. Today, over a million annual visitors come to pay their respects. Many veterans choose to have their ashes interred within the underwater hull, where more than 900 are honored.
Floating above the fallen battleship, visitors are reminded of lost lives and resolved to ensure such events never repeat. The USS Arizona Memorial remains a moving tribute to those who died serving at Pearl Harbor, forever watching over them so they may rest in peace.
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