Hawaii : Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona

It's the "date which will live in infamy" (President Franklin D. Roosevelt): December 7, 1941. 

Japanese fighter planes attack the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii at 7:55 a.m.

Japanese bombers hit the USS Arizona four times, sinking the ship and taking 1,177 courageous men down with it. 

And there we stood, on a blindingly white memorial - a stark contrast to the hidden dark ship below us - seeking to honor the lives that were ended because of war and hatred. 

Along with the fallen 1,177 crew members, more than 30 USS Arizona survivors have chosen the USS Arizona Memorial as their final resting place. "Following a full military funeral at the Arizona memorial, the cremated remains are placed in an urn and then deposited by divers beneath one of the Arizona’s gun turrets" (history.com). The veterans' names are engraved on a small box perched on the stairs to the right of the memorial.

Every day, thousands of visitors filter through the memorial which sits perpendicular to the ship (check out the sky view here), all in awe of the devastation that occurred on that infamous day. 

Merely visiting a memorial cannot express the gratitude we have for all of our nation's soldiers, fallen soldiers and veterans. They have sacrificed more than we can fathom, all for our freedom. We are beyond thankful for the families, men and women who have served our great country with such dedication and without hesitation. 

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The USS Arizona Memorial was our first stop at Pearl Harbor. If you're planning on a visit one day, here's some bits of info you may be interested in....

  • Allow 75 minutes for the full tour. The "tour" includes a sobering video, a boat ride to and front the memorial, and a few minutes of walking around the memorial.
  • Admission is free for the USS Arizona Memorial. 
  • We arrived around 11 a.m. and had no trouble getting in without purchasing advanced tickets online. Try to make your way towards the front when standing in the outside waiting area for the next showing.
  • When filing into the theater, sit at the bottom right-hand side of the theater. You will load a boat which will take you over to the memorial. On the boat ride back from the memorial, try to sit on the back row of the boat. You will get the best photos from here. 
Overall Pearl Harbor Trip Tip: Purses, handbags, backpacks, camera bags, diaper bags, etc. are not allowed into the Pearl Harbor gates. They have a holding place for these bags but there are no lockers. 

JD and I bought the ticket package including the USS Bowfin and USS Missouri. They are both must-sees!! 

Food side note: There is a hot dog stand before you get to the USS Bowfin. We recommend eating here if you like nachos and cheese because... You add the sauce yourself. Yeah. Clog those arteries and load up on the hot cheese sauce. Don't forget to pick up a case off free jalapeños.