December 7, 1941, a date which will always live in infamy for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Last year on this date, I wrote the following:
As a small child, I constructed a model of the USS Arizona. I was young and knew of its history only from books. Since then, I have learned life’s lessons of death. Come May 2006, I will be paying my tribute at the USS Arizona Memorial.
My new bride and I did indeed visit the memorial on our honeymoon. Below are our pictures of that solemn, stirring place of honor and remembrance.
The memorial sits astride the sunken hull of the famed vessel and is only accessible by boat from the site’s visitor center. Here is a picture taken while approaching the memorial (as with all of the photos, click for a larger version):
The simple, elegant entrance:
As one walks through the memorial and crosses over the vessel’s sunken hull, glimpses to either side reveal rusted remnants that still stand up from the salty grave, such as the barbettes of the stern main guns:
Towards the mighty ship’s bow, the sides of main gun turret no. 2 also carry on the fight with Pearl Harbor’s surface:
Still today, 65 years after its downfall, the battleship continues to slowly seep its lifeblood of oil:
At the far end of the memorial is a great wall dedicated to 1,177 men crewmen who died that tragic day:
So many men, so many names, so many private tragedies:
1,177 of the 1,400 on board gave their lives that infamous day. Perhaps the most personally moving point of my visit was the crypt near the base of the wall of names, a crypt holding the remains of those that lived through the horror but, in later years on their own passing, opted to rejoin their old shipmates:
Old Glory once again flies above the USS Arizona, its fluttering in the Hawaiian breeze tending to sound loud and crisp above the lapping of waves and the subdued shuffling and quiet whispers of awed memorial visitors:
Below the flag, this plaque pays tribute to the men lost 65 years ago on the proud USS Arizona: