By Tom Lynam, VFW Post 7019
After the end of the Second World War, there were many monuments organized and constructed to honor the fallen men and women of the armed forces of all nations. Those that perished in the defense of our nation were paid tribute to with a number of great displays from a grateful and mournful country. Of the very special monuments, the U.S.S. Arizona lies entombed where she rests with all hands that perished still aboard at the bottom of the sea in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.
On December 7, 1941, a sneak attack by undeclared enemy naval forces destroyed much of the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor. Those ships that could escape and those that were at sea, which included the aircraft carriers, were eclipsed by the destruction and loss of life caused by the bombs and guns of a determined foe. The loss of the Arizona was only one of several to fall silent on that day, however, the Arizona was to become a symbol for our country and to the entire world that our countrymen did not perish in vain.
The 184 foot long Memorial structure covers the middle portion of the sunken ship. There you will find an entry room, an assembly room designed for gatherings and ceremonies and a shrine room with the names of those who perished engraved on a
marble wall. The Arizona’s gun turrets and upper superstructures have been removed so that the entire remains are under water and are visible on most days. Oil from her submerged boilers still seeps to the surface and is sometimes referred to as tears from the crew that went down with the ship.
Suggestions for the memorial began in 1943. When the Pacific War Memorial Commission was formed by the Territory of Hawaii in 1949, the first actual steps were taken to bring the memorial to reality. The first formal recognition came in 1950 when a flagstaff was placed to preside over the sunken battleship. In 1958, President Eisenhower approved the construction of the memorial designed by Alfred Pries and it was completed and dedicated in 1962. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S.S. Arizona is no longer in commission. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial has come to commemorate all military personnel killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.
The Veterans’ Corner is designed as forum to give information, provide knowledge and entertainment to the public about our veterans. If there is any subject that you would like to explore, or a question that you may need answered, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to help bring us a solution or a laugh. Remember VFW Post 7019 meets at 7:30 PM, second Wednesday of every month at the Kuna Senior Center.