X MARKS THE SPOT
More than 1,000 servicemen are entombed aboard the USS Arizona.
Arizona Memorial is one of America’s best-known architectural landmarks
The USS Arizona was a dreadnaught-era battleship operated by the U.S. Navy, part of the Pacific Fleet that moved from San Diego to Hawaii in 1939. On Dec. 7, 1941, aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy, in the largest air attack ever attempted to that date, assaulted the fleet at harbor, sinking Arizona. More than a thousand servicemen are still entombed aboard the ship, as salvage operations were never seriously considered.
The battleship lies just below the surface of Pearl Harbor, leaking oil and falling apart. Bridging the deck of the ship without touching it is the USS Arizona Memorial, one of America's best-known architectural landmarks. The 184-foot-long memorial was designed by architect Alfred Preis and dedicated in 1962. Elvis Presley was a major contributor to the fund-raising campaign.
Ironically, Preis, an Austrian immigrant, was interned as an enemy alien during World War II.
The memorial has three sections -- an entry and assembly room, a central area used to look down upon the sunken ship and for ceremonies, and a shrine room containing the engraved names of all those killed on Arizona on a marble wall.
This is hallowed ground and visitors are immediately aware of its significance. Many drop flower leis into the oily water from this section, honoring the dead
The USS Arizona is no longer in commission, although a flag of the United States of America does fly above the sunken battleship, attached to a severed mainmast.
Although the U.S. Navy owns the ship and associated properties and handles visitor boat trips to the memorial, it has passed responsibility for interpreting the site to the National Park Service, whose educational and fund-raising arm is the Arizona Memorial Museum Association. AMMA operates a visitor building ashore that is often mistaken for the memorial itself.
"X Marks the Spot"
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