The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor reopened Sunday to lengthy lines of visitors anxious to see the historic resting place of some of the 1,177 crew members killed in the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941. It had been closed for repairs for the last 15 months.
While more than 330 survived, about 900 sailors and Marines are entombed in the great, battered ship that is now part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
The Arizona memorial on the island of Oahu, Hawaii will remain one of the leading tourist attractions in the U.S. Peaceful and somber is the site that once was engulfed in flames, black smoke and the sound and smell of death one Sunday morning in 1941.
On Dec.8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called December 7th the “day of infamy,” a day never to be forgotten, as both Houses of the United States Congress declared war against Japan.
President Roosevelt revealed the historical significance of what had happened in his words that day, not knowing the outcome or the way it would be perceived.
Referring to the “sneak attack,” he said, “Always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.”
Therefore, the USS Arizona Memorial is much more than a tourist site. It’s a reminder of the character of the onslaught against us and perhaps a warning, there are those in the world today bent on power and destruction — and also aimed at us.