USS Arizona Memorial

WWII Valor in the Pacific

No Pearl Harbor visit would be complete without a stop at the USS Arizona Memorial to commemorate the shocking events of December 7, 1941 and to honor the lives of the 1,177 men killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

John Derrick
Published on: 01-15-2020
Published by: John C. Derrick
**Until further notice, the USS Arizona Memorial viewing dock, and loading dock is closed.

"Instead of taking a boat to the memorial and disembarking there, visitors will be taken on a 15-minute narrated harbor tour of Battleship Row and the area around the USS Arizona Memorial. In addition, the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, museums, and bookstore are open as usual from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, seven days a week.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, and Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor – are also open as usual." 

For more information regarding updates, please visit the monument's website and/or Facebook Page.

USS Arizona Memorial Image

Brief History of the USS Arizona

The USS Arizona was launched in 1915 with much fanfare as the second and last of the Pennsylvania-class battleships. The ship was commissioned in 1916 but remained stateside throughout the duration of World War I. Not long after the war’s conclusion, the ship was one of several which escorted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. During that same year, the USS Arizona sailed to the Mediterranean to represent U.S. interests during the Greco-Turkish war.

She was mainly used for training exercises between WWI and WWII and cruised along the Atlantic Coast and the Caribbean with the Atlantic Fleet until 1929, when she returned to Norfolk, VA for a 2-year long modernization. Upon completion, the Arizona took U.S. President Herbert Hoover on a cruise to the West Indies and then joined the Pacific Fleet, where she remained throughout the remainder of her service.

During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona was struck with several bombs, one of which penetrated a powder magazine and caused the ship to explode and sink, taking the lives of 1,177 officers and crewmen onboard. The ship still remains submerged at Pearl Harbor.

USS Arizona Memorial, aircraft fighter

USS Arizona Memorial, aircraft fighter

The USS Arizona Today

In 1958, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the creation of the USS Arizona Memorial and its construction was completed in 1961 through a combination of federal funds and private donations. The USS Arizona Memorial was constructed over the remains of the sunken ship and was officially dedicated in 1962. The project’s architect, Alfred Preis, explained the structure’s design thusly, “Wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory…. The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses.”

The ship was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

The USS Arizona Memorial itself has three parts: The entryway; an assembly room in the center with open spaces for viewing the sunken ship and for ceremonies; and the shrine room, which contains a marble plaque with the names of the ship’s crewmembers.

Several men who survived the attack on the USS Arizona have chosen to be laid to rest with their fellow crewmembers on the ship; while many other Pearl Harbor survivors have had their ashes scattered over the ocean at Pearl Harbor.

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