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On December 7, 1941 the attacks on Oahu came in two waves over 5 hours with 2,341 US military personnel and 54 civilians killed during the attack. A total of 21 US ships were sunk, damaged or beached and 323 US aircraft destroyed or damaged. Anyone who was not killed or injured during the attack was left to attempt to save those struggling to survive and clean up the dead. Survivors describe the attack and clean up as unimaginable. There were hundreds of dead men floating in Pearl Harbor. Some of the soldiers that did survive the attack on their battleship were literally cooked alive when they jumped into the harbor, which had burning oil floating on top, to escape their sinking ship. The most infamous attack at Pearl Harbor was on the USS Arizona where an armor-piercing bomb directly hit and penetrated the ammunition bunker causing a huge gun powder explosion instantly killing 1,177 men on board sinking this mighty battleship in just 9 minutes. Only the remains of 75 have been recovered from the USS Arizona, the rest of the men are still entombed in the sunken battleship. The USS Arizona and the memorial which stands above it now serve as a grave marker, not only for those who died on the USS Arizona but for all who served and died during the attack.


The USS Arizona Memorial and museum are interesting, educational, and allows anyone to pay their respects to the brave men who lost their lives during the attack. Many visitors put visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial on the top of their activity list for their Hawaiian vacation. The USS Arizona Memorial is considered a sacred memorial site and visitors must behave appropriately. It is appropriate to bring lei offerings for those who died or cameras to capture your experience at the memorial. Young children may not understand the significance of the museum and memorial and may find these activities to be uninteresting. These sites may not be appropriate activities for some children to visit who have difficulty sitting still or staying quiet. It can be very offensive to grieving visitors to have people joking around or acting inappropriately while they are trying to pay their respects.


At the USS Arizona Memorial museum there are many interesting artifacts, models, and a very moving film documenting the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ferry to the USS Arizona Memorial departs from the museum. It takes approx. 2-3 hours to view the museum, the movie, and the USS Arizona Memorial. Admission is free but you must arrive early to get tickets for the movie and each visitor must get their own ticket from the park Ranger. Shirts and shoes are required on the memorial. The visitor center is open from 7:30am to 5:00pm, daily, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. A Navy shuttle operates between the visitors’ center and the USS Arizona Memorial from 8am to 3pm daily, 7:30am during the summer. At Pearl Harbor along with the USS Arizona Memorial you can also explore the retired battle ship USS Missouri, also known as the Mighty Mo, as well as the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum.

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