On December 7, 1941, few minutes after 8:00 am, a Japanese carrier aircraft dropped bombs on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. This triggered an explosion and engulfed the entire battleship into flames. Unites States President, Franklin Roosevelt referred it as a “date which live in infamy”. In the aftermath of the Japanese attack, the battleship’s burning bridge and its listing mast and superstructure was photographed and emblazoned in the front pages of every national newspaper. The attack piloted America’s involvement in World War II. The USS Arizona Memorial became the resting place for those 1,102 sailors killed in the attack, with the sunken hull of the battleship being declared as a National Historic Landmark. Every President of the United States since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and both Emperors Hirohito and Akihito have made a pilgrimage to the site. This article offers some of the most amazing facts about the USS Arizona Memorial.
Location: Pearl Harbor, USA
Built In: May 30, 1962
Famous as: War Memorial
Visiting Hours: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, except Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1
Interesting & Fun Facts About USS Arizona Memorial
- Prior to the attacks by the Japanese forces the USS Arizona filled its tanks on December 6, 1941 with an estimated quantity of 1.5 million gallons in preparation for its scheduled trip to the mainland later that month.
- The USS Arizona Memorial was officially commissioned as a gunnery training vessel with the Atlantic fleet during World War I. It was in 1940 that this mighty American battleship was ordered to the Pearl Harbor Base, by President Franklin Roosevelt.
- The battleship weighed 31,400 tons and was 608 feet long and stood more than 97 feet high. It was built at a total cost of $12,993,579.
- The memorial was designed by Honolulu architect Alfred Preis who had been detained at Sand Island at the start of the war as an enemy of the country because of his Austrian birth.
- The USS Arizona Memorial is no more under commission. Admiral Arthur W. Radford, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, had ordered a flagpole placed at the site and the U.S. flag is raised and lowered each day since March 7, 1950.
- Grown into a tradition now, all American ships passing the USS Arizona Memorial salute it. Many foreign ships have adopted this practice as well.
- The three main parts of the national memorial are the entry, assembly room, and shrine. The central assembly room showcases seven large open windows to symbolize the date of the attack.
- The memorial has 21 windows. This is said to symbolically represent a 21 gun salute or 21 Marines standing over the fallen structure.
- Scenes from the movie "Here Comes the Navy" were shot aboard the USS Arizona in the spring of 1934. The motion picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. This romantic comedy produced by the Warner bros featured James Cagney, Gloria Stuart and Pat O’Brien.
- Even today, despite several conservation efforts, the ship leaks oil and the seeping oil is sometimes referred to as "the tears of the Arizona" or "black tears."
- The USS Arizona Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day, i.e. on May 30, 1962, by Texas Congressman and Chairman of Veteran Affairs, Olin E. Teague and Hawaii Governor, John A. Burns.
- Though the wreck of USS Arizona was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989, the memorial is not a part of it. The memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.
- Though the USS Arizona is no longer in commission, yet it considered to be an active U.S. military cemetery.
- More than one million people come to pay their homage at the USS Arizona memorial.
- The USS Arizona Memorial is accessible by U.S. Navy boat and the visitors must obtain a number from the Visitor Center. Due to an overwhelming number of visitors and limited number of available boats, only 4,500 visitors’ tickets are issued on a daily basis. Prior to boarding the boat which takes visitors to the memorial, the visitor are also shown a documentary based on the Pearl Harbor attacks by the Japanese.
- Here, visitors can see one of the three 19,585 pound anchors of the Arizona which is kept on display at the entrance of the visitor center. The visitors can also see one of the two ship's bells, which lie at the visitor center.