Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a day that, according to FDR, “will live in infamy”.
For anyone making a trip to Hawaii, I would highly recommend taking a day off from beach activities to visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. (If you don’t rent a car, there are buses – both public transit and private – that can get you there.)
A new visitors center and museum were opened in 2009. There are a wide range of facts about fighting in the Pacific Theater during WWII waiting to be absorbed. But the most meaningful part of your day will be the actual trip out to the memorial built over the sunken hull of the USS Arizona. You will view a short movie with actual footage of the attack just before you board a Navy launch for the short ride out to the Memorial. Your time aboard the Memorial is brief, but you will have time to view the wall listing the names of the dead, the rainbow colors of the drops of oil leaking from the ship’s hull and the USS Missouri moored just to the south.
If you visit Pearl Harbor in the next few years you may be fortunate enough to meet a Pearl Harbor survivor. Some of them assist the Park Service staff at the memorial. They are living history, national treasures. But it’s been 70 years since the attack and most of the survivors have died. The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association announced today that it is disbanding because there are not enough members to keep it going. Today’s commemoration at Pearl Harbor was their last official gathering.