Oahu – Day 2 – Part 2
The main attraction at Pearl Harbor is the USS Arizona Memorial. There is a limited number of tickets for visitors per day, and it is recommended that you reserve tickets online (with a $1.50 fee/ticket) where you can choose specific time slots etc. I tried doing that, but unfortunately you really need to plan several months ahead of time to get those tickets. Instead, we headed to Pearl Harbor early in the morning to get tickets. We didn’t have to wait, we got the 8:00am tickets. I’m guessing that if we were there during the summer peak season, we’d be waiting.
Before actually making our way out the memorial, we were led into the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theatre, where we watched a documentary about the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor Attack. It was not only informational, but created a perfect back drop for visitors before taking a ferry out the memorial.
Once docked, you are told not to stop on the dock and to walk all the way inside to make way for other visitors to leave the memorial. It’s apparent, how busy it gets throughout the day as visitors make their way to and from Pearl Harbor. And as we walked in the previous group was already all lined up on the left waiting for us to get in so that they could head out.
The USS Arizona was one of the many battleships docked in battleship row the morning of the attack, and still remains where it sank in 1941. The memorial it self floats above the actual battleship USS Arizona where over 1,000 crew members rest less than 40 feet below us. While standing in the middle of the memorial, I had a heavy feeling knowing that this is a resting place for so many. The documentary really set the mood. There is a narrated tour you can purchase before going going onto the USS Arizona memorial, but there is a guide there ready to answer your questions as well.
As you walk towards the other end of the memorial, there is an shrine framed as though you are walking through a curtain. Inside is a marble wall with the names of the all of men killed on the USS Arizona. In additional to those that died on the ship during the attack, some of the survivors have also chosen the memorial as their final resting place. There is a opening right outside of the shrine, where you can see fish swimming around the wreckage. I can only imagine how symbolic everything.
The USS Arizona continues to leak oil on a daily basis. Though an environmental concern (it is being monitored and studied), it is also dubbed “Tears of the Arizona.” Another reminder of what lies below.
After a mellow and rather quiet visit to the the USS Arizona Memorial, we headed back to the Visitors Center where we made our way to our next and final stop at Pearl Harbor; USS Missouri.