Current News – USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL is OPEN

USS Arizona Memorial, Pear Harbor, Hawaii

HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — With the American flag billowing in the wind and “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing on the loudspeakers from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the first boatload of tourists and residents in nearly 16 months stepped onto the USS Arizona Memorial on Sunday morning.  (1 Sept.)

The 145 visitors on the Navy boat disembarked to spend a few solemn minutes within the white walls of the shrine at the same time, 8:10 a.m., that the Arizona was hit Dec. 7, 1941, also a Sunday, by an armor-piercing bomb that sank the ship and killed 1,177 men. The battleship suffered the greatest loss of life of all the ships and planes attacked that day. Among the dead were a father and son named Free and 23 sets of brothers.

“It was just terribly moving to be over there today,” said Minneapolis resident Patty Drake, 63, who was in Hawaii with her husband, Bob. “All the death and the pain.”

She saw the oil seeping from the sunken ship that she recalled seeing the last time she visited the memorial while living in Hawaii more than 50 years ago.

USS Arizona

“It was powerful,” Bob Drake said.  The oil the Drakes witnessed leaks from the million gallons of bunker fuel oil that was aboard the ship when it sank and is known as the “black tears of the Arizona.”

Visitors now can walk on the memorial and see the oil and the names of the dead etched into the marble wall as they reflect on the sacrifice of those who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the U.S. into World War II.

The memorial was closed in May 2018 after park staff found major damage to the anchoring system for the boat dock at the memorial. The damage — possibly caused by king tides in 2017 that raised the concrete blocks out of the ground — allowed too much movement of the dock and created a risk that the bridge to the memorial could collapse.

Jay Blount, Pearl Harbor National Memorial’s chief of interpretation said, “The new anchoring system uses giant screws, some longer than 100 feet, that have been driven into the seafloor. Twelve anchors were installed and then were attached to the dock using synthetic rope as part of the $2.1 million repair.

USS Arizona Memorial, JESSICA O. BLACKWELL/U.S. NAVY

Steve Mietz, acting supervisor of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, said reopening the Arizona Memorial was the top priority of the National Parks Serv­ice.

“Reconnecting the American public to the USS Arizona Memorial is very meaningful to me,” Mietz said. “People need to be there at that shrine to pay their respects to those fallen heroes. It’s such a moving sight.”

Mietz said the repair project involved working with several partners, including the nonprofit Pacific Historic Parks and the Navy, which had the equipment to support the parks department and helped compete the project faster and at a lower cost.

Blount said the memorial, which opened on Memorial Day 1962, stands as the symbol of American sacrifice in the Pacific theater during WWII.

For history buff Camden Koukol, 13, of Dayton, Ohio, visiting the sunken battleship was a key reason for coming to Hawaii, said his mother, Dominique Koukol.

In Ohio, Dominique Koukol had heard the memorial might be reopening soon, and because her husband was going to be in Hawaii for business, the couple decided it would be a chance for them to travel to the islands affordably as a family, with the hope that the battleship would reopen in time for their son to visit.

Camden, who learns about military ships and planes while building models for national contests, visited the memorial Saturday with his parents to scope out the park and returned about 5:30 a.m. Sunday to get in line for the first boat. They were the second group in line.

Camden said he wanted to visit the sunken battleship because it was an impressive ship when it was built, and he wanted to “see what it was like after the attack.”

Brian Catron of Pearl City seized upon the idea of visiting the memorial after hearing it had reopened on the 6 o’clock news Sunday morning. He woke his two daughters and brought them and his wife down by about 6:30 a.m. It was a way to spend the day with family for free and finally gave his daughter, Kahea­lani, 10, a chance to visit the memorial, he said.

Crew of the USS Arizona

©2019 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

 

e-Quips would like anyone interested, to write a letter to one or all four of the remaining USS Arizona survivors. CLICK HERE!!

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Beetle Bailey

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Farewell Salutes –

Henry Allen – Dayton, KY; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 23 y.), Bronze Star

Thomas Burton – Middleburgh, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./511/11th Airborne Division

Frank Checchi – Hooversville, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Oliver Mitchell

Arizona Memorial

Fred Gans Jr. – Daytona, FL; US Navy, WWII & Vietnam, Lt. Commander (Ret.)

“Goodie” Lorentzen – Anacortes, WA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Harold Lowry – Mollala, OR; USMC, WWII, PTO, PFC, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Gisela Murray – Milwaukee, WI; Civilian, 128th Airborne, logistics assistant

Jerry Pierce – Turlock, CA; US Navy, WWII, minesweeper USS Scout

Thomas Rostek – East Windsor, CT; US Navy, WWII, USS Yosemite

Roger Schlaak – Michigan City, IN; US Navy, WWII

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 8, 2019, in Current News, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 113 Comments.

  1. I was looking for something else and saw your post. I have never made the trip, but a friend did it shortly before it was shut down.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to hear the dock anchoring has been fixed and the memorial is open!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I visited just a couple of years ago. It’s impossible not to be moved.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to hear it’s open again. I’ve visited only once, but I plan to return someday. Thanks for the heads up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. YAY — a visit to Pearl Harbor without a visit to the Arizona memorial is unthinkable !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A really interesting blog post. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. An unbelievable memorial gp, exceptional piece of history still kept in situ, my son was fortunate to visit the site and maybe one day I will have the chance.
    Thanks for a great post on a major piece of wars history.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Glad it’s open again – It’s a very emotional, very important place to be. I went twice during the year I lived in Hawai’i and I could have gone another time or two.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. How incredible and moving that the oil is still sleeping out like tears or blood of a wounded animal. What a place to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That is wonderful news! And it sounds a remarkable engineering feat, with, fittingly, the US Navy making a major contribution.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is so very important! Thank you for spreading the news, GP.
    P.S. Always loved Beetle Bailey.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Glad the National Parks Service realized the importance of the USS ARIZONA and restructured to make it safe for visitors. We need all the pieces of history that we can keep.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Apart from the opening itself, which is important, I noted this line in the story: “history buff Camden Koukol,13, of Dayton, Ohio…” He and his generation are the ones who need to take in the memorial, and the lessons it has to teach.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We visited the Arizona a few years ago. It is such a sombering experience. Thank you to all who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is good news. The aerial photo is sobering and powerful. I have to put it on my to-see- list.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Henry and I would love to visit that memorial if possible

    Liked by 1 person

  17. this is good news – wish it was a little closer to make a visit to see – but maybe one day

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Great news. I shared this on Facebook. I have a bunch of friends there who will be happy to see this.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. “The price of Freedom,” they tell us, “is eternal vigilance.”

    I don’t retain much by way of facts so I read mostly for the flavours, for the ‘why’ and how’. I remember standing on the upper deck of our own ship with a hot coffee, watching wee bubbles of oil wobbling up from the tomb below (bits of rust poking out, still) just quietly contemplating. It was a different age back then.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. These memorials have an extremely important role to play in alerting the younger generation of the sacrifices of the fallen soldiers. Otherwise, they don’t recognize that the freedom they enjoy today is a direct result of such sacrifices.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Had no idea it had been closed… Was fortunate some years ago to take the tour – it’s an important and very moving experience which I’m so glad is open again! Thanks for getting the word out!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Good job, GP. So glad to see the memorial open again

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Can you imagine being the guy that etched those names into that marble? How profound that would be. And what an Honor.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Oh, good! My son is going to Oahu in November. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks and we went to the Memorial a decade ago. He will be thrilled to revisit such an iconic site.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Looks great.Maybe sometime i can visit. Thank you for the information. GP! Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  26. What an interesting read. I liked the backstory on the folks who made a point of visiting.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. A tip of the hat to you, GP, for letting your readers know that the Arizona Memorial has re-opened. • And, thanks for another Beetle Bailey! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  28. That is really the only thing that has ever interested me about Hawaii. I do want to visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona. It on my bucket list.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mine as well, DC. My uncle was stationed on Hawaii for a while during his Marine career and my aunt described the pitfalls of the place, so I’d mainly go just for the military history aspect of the islands.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Hard to imagine the shock and carnage, the grief and pain, an audacious raid, but one that galvanised a nation not invested in the pacific as the British were by colonial ownership and treaty.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. I’m so glad the memorial is reopened. Thank you for this, GP. The aerial view is outstanding.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Great article GP. Also, appreciate the link inviting people to send notes to the 4 USS Arizona survivors. Much obliged. Have you been to the memorial? My husband and I visited in 2016. Very impressive.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Glad to hear the memorial is re-opened. A visit to Oahu isn’t complete without going to the Arizona for some quiet reflection.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. It’s good to hear this has reopened.

    Liked by 4 people

  34. Great to see it has reopened. Such a moving and respectful memorial to those lost on that tragic morning.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 5 people

  35. I should love to see this firsthand and spend some time taking it all in –

    Liked by 4 people

  36. Thank you for sharing this news!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Current News – USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL is OPEN — Pacific Paratrooper | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

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