Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pearl Harbor

Sunday, December 7, 1941... this is a date that will never be forgotten in American history. Early in the morning the Japanese made a surprise attack on the US Naval base in Pearl Harbor, resulting in the sinking of four battleships and damaging four more as well as sinking or damaging three cruisers, three destroyers and one minelayer. The attack destroyed 188 aircraft. In a matter of 90 minutes, 2,402 lives were lost and 1,282 were wounded.

Our visit began near the USS Bowfin. The kids enjoyed looking at different artifacts and replicas of different military items as used during WWII.

Near the USS Bowfin there is also a memorial park paying tribute to the 52 US submarines and over 3,500 submariners who lost their lives during WWII. In this park every submarine and person's name is written on a special monument.
The kids and I then made our way to the USS Arizona Memorial. This memorial is the final resting place for 1102 of the battleship's 1177 crew members who lost their lives on December 7.
There is a museum to tour and also a movie that you will be shown prior to being taken via boat to the actual memorial. On most days outside the museum will be a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. These two men were there the day we went.

After the movie we were loaded into a boat and taken out to the memorial. All around are markers in the water showing where each ship was hit during the attack. Every ship was recovered except the USS Arizona and the USS Utah.
The memorial itself is 184-feet long.
Once inside the memorial you can walk around the main area, which is where you can view parts of the sunken ship visible above or just below the water.
There is also a magnificent view of the Pearl Harbor area from the memorial. It is mind blowing to think of all the destruction and lives lost that took place on that very spot when looking from the memorial.
At the back of the memorial is the shrine room. This room contains the names of all those killed on the USS Arizona engraved on a marble wall.
You can feel a sense of honor and remembrance while you walk around the memorial. Everyone is quiet. People talk in hushed voices. I think we all try to stand there and imagine what the last moments were like for those 1177people.
When you look into the water you can see spots of oil that still seeps out of the USS Arizona. Some call these "Tears of a Sailor". There are 22 remaining survivors of the USS Arizona. All the survivors have been asked to be brought back to rest with the ship upon their death. The survivors believe that once the last person has been returned the the ship, the oil will stop seeping. When the memorial worker told us that story I got goosebumps.

The amount of time on the memorial is timed. When they bring the next group via boat, you have to board and head back to the museum area. As I boarded the boat, I turned around and snapped this shot. A forever reminder that no matter what the United States will prevail.
All the pictures from our visit to Pearl Harbor can be seen here.


TetVet68 said...

Remember Pearl Harbor -- Keep America Alert!

America's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, living his 101st year is former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Ordnanceman (ACOM), later wartime commissioned Lieutenant John W. Finn, U. S. Navy (Ret.). He is also the last surviving Medal of Honor, "The Day of Infamy", Japanese Attack on the Hawaiian Islands, Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.

(Now deceased) 'Navy Centenarian Sailor', 103 year old, former enlisted Chief Petty Officer, Aviation Chief Radioman (ACRM, Combat Aircrewman), later wartime commissioned Chief Warrant Officer Julio 'Jay' Ereneta, U. S. Navy (Ret.), is a thirty year career veteran of World War One and World War Two. He first flew aircrewman in August 1922; flew rearseat Radioman/Gunner (1920s/1930s) in the tactical air squadrons of the Navy's first aircraft carriers, USS LANGLEY (CV-1) and USS LEXINGTON (CV-2).

Visit my photo album tribute to these centenarian veteran shipmates and other Pearl Harbor Survivors:

San Diego, California

Terri said...

yes, reading this and remembering my visit 17 years ago to this very spot, gives me the chills. I lost most of my pictures from that trip so I really enjoyed seeing yours. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Cool story as for me. I'd like to read something more about that topic. Thanks for posting this info.
Joan Stepsen
New gadgets technology