“A date which will live in infamy”. Words uttered by President Franklin D Roosevelt a day after the Japanese deliberately attacked Pearl Harbor on the island of O’ahu, leading to the US entrance into World War II. Today we commemorate the 75th anniversary of this tragic event and pay tribute to the brave members of our armed services that fought so valiantly to defend our nation.
Many of you have had or wish to have the opportunity to pay a personal visit to the memorial site on O’ahu. I was fortunate to make my way there in mid-summer. Upon arrival to the Arizona Memorial, we were seated in an auditorium to watch an exceptionally well-done and moving video that captures the essence of what truly happened on December 7, 1941. The outpouring of emotion flowing from the room was evident as we witnessed the beginning of the surprise attack.
As the video plays, one begins to understand the massive, coordinated invasion and how helpless it must have felt for those men and women on the ground.
With so many of our ships in port and essentially trapped, the Japanese had their will. And the Arizona perished along with countless others.
As the video ended, we made our way to the boat for a transfer to what remains of the Arizona. It was a somber mood but one of pride in how America responded.
As you can see from the image above, the Arizona Memorial is at the very right and is flanked by our modern-day Naval forces.
As we pulled into the dock, the previous scenes from the auditorium flashed through the minds of all.
And as we looked back on the beauty of the majestic mountains of O’ahu, one had to question, how could this have happened?
A very quiet stroll amongst the visitors led me to the remains of the Arizona.
As I sat there with all sorts of questions running through my head, I realized that 75 years later, the Arizona is still having an impact on the harbor, both emotionally and physically.
Here is an excerpt from the National Park Service website:
“Is it true that oil still leaks from the USS Arizona?
Yes. Currently, the ship leaks 2-9 quarts each day.
The USS Arizona held approximately 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million liters) of “Bunker-C” oil. The ship burned for 2½ days, leaving an unspecified amount of oil on board. Oil has been observed leaking from the ship since the 1940’s; however, little action was taken until environmental concerns were expressed.”
And the Arizona was just one piece of the massive destruction at Pearl Harbor. Madness, sheer madness….
As we packed up our boat and all headed back to shore, I began to realize why visitors to Hawaii make this a must stop on their tropical vacation. Pearl Harbor. Ground Zero. Both examples of tragic attacks on American soil, but also shining beacons of American resilience.
If you would like more information on how to visit Pearl Harbor while on the island, please follow this link: Recreation.gov Pearl Harbor
To book a vacation stay on O’ahu start here: Request Oahu Trip Info