Remembering Pearl Harbor Day

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

It was 75 years ago today when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, launching the United States into World War II.

 

I visited this Hawaiian harbor last month.  Headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and still a U.S. naval station, it was fortunately much quieter than “the day that will live in infamy.”

 

USS Arizona, Oahu

USS Arizona, Oahu

On December 7, 1941, the United States was hit by an extensive Japanese surprise aerial attack on Oahu, Hawaii. An initial wave of 183 Japanese aircraft, launched from six aircraft carriers, attacked the U.S. naval base.  A half hour later a second wave of 167 aircraft stormed in.

 

Within 90 minutes 2,403 Americans were killed, 1,178 were wounded.

 

Here the USS Arizona battleship was bombed and sunk.  It violently exploded, tearing the ship in half, instantly entombing 1,177 military people on board.

1930’s, USS Arizona. Courtesy US Navy, Wikipedia.

 

USS Arizona, sinking, on Dec. 7, 1941. Courtesy Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

 

Today you can take a navy boat shuttle across the peaceful harbor waters to the site of the memorial.

 

Inside the USS Arizona

Inside the USS Arizona

Built in 1962 and designed by Alfred Preis, the 184-foot-long (56 m) memorial straddles the battleship’s sunken hull. Visitors arriving by boat cross a walkway bridge and enter a large, open-air room.

 

Here you experience the whipping Pacific winds and see through an opening in the floor to the sunken battleship below where over 1,100 people lost their lives.

Diagram of the sunken USS Arizona and white (vertical, center) memorial

Diagram of the sunken USS Arizona and white (vertical, center) memorial

USS Arizona beneath the Memorial. Photo: J. Pastoric, USN. Courtesy Wikipeida.

 

 

 

 

 

In the next room is a sobering shrine, a marble wall inscribed with the names of the Arizona’s honored dead. “The Tree of Life” resides here too, it symbolizes rebirth and renewal.

 

On shore is a modern visitor center with many exhibits and displays.

 

Base of the gun turret on USS Arizona

Base of the gun turret on USS Arizona

Read more about the memorial here, and U.S. Park and visitor center here.

 

I found this moving memorial another striking reminder of the beauty of peace.

 

pearl-harbor-75-aniversary
Photo credit: Athena Alexander (unless otherwise specified)

 

 

 

My recently released mystery novel, available for purchase here.

Golden Gate Graveyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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43 thoughts on “Remembering Pearl Harbor Day

    • I’m glad you enjoyed today’s visit to Pearl Harbor, John. They’ve built a really spacious and deluxe visitor center since then, but other than that, it is the same since 1968.

    • I don’t think it will be forgotten, Jan. We haven’t forgotten the brutality of the Civil War or those before it. I am glad you enjoyed the post, Jan; and, as always, I appreciate your visit and insight.

  1. Great post, Jet. I visited there many years ago. I remember having goosebumps when I was there. Now I have goosebumps reading your post. It’s a piece of history (like many others) that we won’t forget. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Helen. Visiting there, as you know, really brings home the horror of war. We are fortunate in this country to have such monuments and memorials as a reminder. My thanks Helen.

  2. Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7th will always be remembered as it will be New York’s attack on Nov. 11th. Both attacks were unprovoked, the impact is much more pronounced hence unforgettable. May all that perished then be eternally remembered. Thank you my friend for your post.

  3. Thank you, Jet, a sobering post. These dates and memorials are important, and sadly necessary – and you can only hope past brave sacrifices will remind us we can do better in the future.

    • Yes, we don’t board that boat frivolously, Andrea, knowing we are headed to view a sunken battleship. I thank you for visiting it with me, and for your thoughtful comment today.

    • Sherry, I SO enjoyed perusing this link. I found the history interesting, the different generations. How fortunate to have this kind of information. But what I really soaked up and reread, and the reason for your sharing, was your father’s account of his day at Pearl Harbor. It is so well written and pulls us into that harrowing scene. Excellent descriptions of the “zing” of a passing bullet, the fighter pilot they shot at and watched perish, the terrible destruction in just minutes, the discovery that it was not a drill. Wonderful personal account. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  4. The day we remember. I’m currently studying US History right now. I got hooked with the chain of events over the course of our history. I’m very much fascinated how each and every piece of history is connected or influence by another event. We should really be grateful with the comfort we live today because of the people who paved the way for us.

    • I, too, have been studying more US history lately, Rommel, and there’s a real joy to seeing back for the perspective, the human patterns, and the courage and fortitude of people before us. I agree completely with you, we have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

  5. Your Post here brought back some memories for me again. While serving in the US Navy Pearl Harbor was my Home Port. I was stationed here for 2.5 yrs. There is much more to see in this Historic Harbor than what is offered to the Tourist. There are still .50 cal. bullet holes on the buildings from the Japanese planes strafing the area. Alongside Brovo Piers, there are plaques made of medal describing what ship was there and what happened to it during the attack. Most of the sights that you don’t see are in the Naval Base where civilians are not allowed to be in. Ford Island has some other places to see, but you have to know where to look. The original Hanger bay’s for the airfield are still there, with broken glass and bullet holes from that bad day. The USS Oklahoma is still laying on her side in the position she capsized during the attack. They are still recovering Sailor’s remains from her to this day. You also don’t see the Pier’s where the USS Cassin & USS Downes were moored. The Japanese bombed these Destroyers so bad they could not be recovered with a great loss of Life.

    One day, during my stay in Pearl, we got word that 4 Japanese Destroyers were pulling into Pearl for a visit. Trust me, this was not taken very well by us Sailors. To make a story short, the Jap Sailors were not accepted well at all!! A big fight broke out in the Enlisted Mens Club one night. Who started it, I’ll never know. We were glad when they left the Base! Even though they were not born yet when their Fathers attacked us and had nothing to do with it, their reflection sorta made us mad as hell!
    Regards, Jet
    Les

    • I appreciated your memories and writings, Les, on the remnants leftover from Pearl Harbor Day that still exist here. It is extremely poignant to walk around here, on Ford Island and other Harbor settings. My nephew works at the Aviation Museum and he took us for a tour around there, and we saw different hangars, etc. We did not, however, see bullet holes or plaques, which I am sure must be incredible images to behold. Thanks for your valuable input and perspective, it is much appreciated.

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