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.”
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.
Today you can take a navy boat shuttle across the peaceful harbor waters to the site of the memorial.
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.
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.
I found this moving memorial another striking reminder of the beauty of peace.
My recently released mystery novel, available for purchase here.