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 Hawaii Travel Guide by Kathie Fry

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USS Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii

The Arizona Memorial commemorates the site where World War II began for the United States when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The memorial is also tribute to the more then 1000 USS Arizona crew members who lost their lives that day.

USS Arizona Memorial
Photo Credit: United States Government Archives

About the USS Arizona Memorial Itself

The USS Arizona Memorial is a white structure that is 184 feet long, the same length as the sunken USS Arizona Battleship and it is oriented perpendicular to the ship, as you can see in the above photo. The memorial was designed by German architect Alfred Pries. It has three main sections, (1) the entry and assembly rooms, (2) a central area designed for ceremonies and viewing the ship, and (3) the shrine room where the names of those killed on the USS Arizona are engraved on a marble wall.

History of the USS Arizona Memorial

The idea of building a memorial commemorating the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was first discussed seriously in about 1943, but no action was taken until 1949 when the Territory of Hawaii established the Pacific War Memorial Commission. On December 7, 1950, on the 9th anniversary of the attack, a commemorative plaque and a flagpole were erected above the sunken battleship. Funds for building a USS Arizona Memorial were approved by the U.S. Congress and President Eisenhower in 1958, construction of the memorial was completed in 1961, and the USS Arizona Memorial was dedicated in 1962.

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial tours begin with a brief introduction, a 20 minute film on the Pearl Harbor attack, followed by a boat trip to the memorial. The entire tour, including the introduction and the film, takes approximately 75 minutes, but waiting times for a tour can be longer then 2 hours.

The USS Arizona Memorial Visitor's Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week except on New Year's Day and Christmas Day. I highly recommend arriving very early to avoid a long wait because lines can be long during peak periods. Entry to the USS Arizona Museum and boat transportation to the USS Arizona Memorial are free, but tickets are handed out on a first-come first-serve basis. The memorial is the most popular visitor attraction in Hawaii and sometimes the tours can be sold out by noon.

Tours begin every 15 minutes between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Note that handbags, waist packs, backpacks, baby backpacks, strollers, and any other item that offers concealment are not allowed on the memorial, although cameras are permitted.

When you arrive at the museum you will have an opportunity to rent a headset audio tour for about $5. The Arizona Museum audio tour is interesting, because it is narrated by actor Ernest Bourgnine and real-life survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but if you don't want to spend the money you can enjoy the museum without it.

You will be invited to tour the USS Arizona indoor museum while you are waiting for the tour you have been assigned to. If you will have an exceptionally long wait you can also visit the Bowfin Submarine Museum while you are waiting for your Arizona tour time slot. When your tour begins, you will first watch a very moving 25 minute film about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the sinking of the USS Arizona. Then you will board a boat for a short, scenic cruise across Pearl Harbor. When you arrive at the memorial you will be given 10 or 15 minutes to walk around on the memorial before you are transported back to the visitors center.

See also:
  • Photos of the USS Arizona Being Attacked
  • Planning a Day in Pearl Harbor



  • Related Links
    Oahu Island - Main Menu
    Islands of Hawaii
    Hawaii for Visitors

    Elsewhere on the Web
    Arizona Memorial Museum Association
    Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund



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