home . index

USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor
March 23, 2008

< < previous | next > >

On approach to Honolulu, we could see Pearl Harbor out the windows of our Aloha Jet (bankrupt, 3 weeks later) plane. Once on the ground, we decided that our four-hour layover was just (barely) long enough for us to take a taxi over to Pearl Harbor and visit the memorial to the sailors and soldiers who died there.

It's very startling -- and not a little creepy -- to see the rusted towers of that battleship riding above the water line, and the rusty hull below, visible through the clear water. The bones of nearly a thousand men are said to reside down there.

The design of the memorial is equally amazing, and strikes me as one of those things that could have only been accomplished in the sixties, like the space program or interstates. It's modern, bold, beautiful, not at all sentimental. It straddles the mausoleum-battleship in a graceful way that allows many people to see it up close, and feel the emotion. It's quite an accomplishment, and I wonder if as many people would visit Pearl Harbor without it.

Em was struck by the large number of Japanese tourists. Contrition may play a role in that. Perhaps, too, the fact that it may be the last battle they won.