This structure straddles the sunken US battleship Arizona at Pearl Harbor, built just 40 years ago.
December 7th. 1941, on this “Day of Infamy” the Imperial Japanese Navy carried out its unprovoked attack on the US Fleet at Pearl Harbor. 2,388 US personnel died that morning, and another 1,178 were wounded.
USS Arizona Memorial
The first steps to erect a Memorial did not come about until the Territory of Hawii, established in 1949, the Pacific War Memorial Commission. Initially, it was US Admiral Arthur Radford, C-in- C Pacific, who recognized the need to remember those who had died, when he ordered a flagpole with a commemorative plaque at its base, be erected over the sunken battleship USS Arizona, on which, 1,177 crewmen had been killed during the Japanese attack.
As part of the commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea, in Australia in 1951, Admiral Radford visited Australia, and when in the National Capital Canberra, he came to stay at Government House as a guest of the Governor General, and was the Guest of Honour at a dinner held for him. I was able to talk with him on several occasions at that time, and one of our topics of conversation was about a possible Memorial at Honolulu, for those lost on that fateful day of the 7th. of December 1941, and in particular for the Arizona sailors who died that morning.
It took until 1958, to get some executive action, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower, approved the creation of a Memorial, using funds from Congress and private donations. Construction was completed in 1961, and this new Memorial was dedicated the following year. So, by now in 2002, it is but 40 years since this Memorial was created.
Description of the Arizona Memorial
This Memorial is just a 184 foot long structure, that straddles the mid section of the sunken Arizona, and contains three main segments. An entry and assembly rooms, a central location for ceremonies and a general observation area, and finally, the “Shrine Room” where a marble wall features the engraved names of all who died in Arizona. The Flagpole. The flagpole is attached to the remainder of the battleship Arizona’s mainmast. It is used to fly the American National Flag.
Japanese Carriers en route to attack US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7th. 1941.
Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor
If Japan was to succeed in its strategy to expand its sphere of influence and conquer territory in the Western Pacific, the C- in- C of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto knew he must immobolise the strong US Pacific Fleet based on Pearl Harbor. He also was aware, that the element of suprise was paramount if his forces were to succeed, hence the lack of any warning of the impending attack.
In hindsight, and in reality, all that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor achieved, was to ensure that the United States would enter the war on the side of the Allies, and, in the long haul, America would be a part of, and instrumental in the gaining of final VICTORY. The Arizona Memorial stands today, to continually remind us of the sneak Japanese attack on the 7th. of December 1941, and all who died that day for “The Cause of Freedom!”