Hawaii for its pristine beaches, fabulous coffee, amazing hotels and for
Pearl Harbor. Everyone knows the story of the Japanese surprise attack
on December 7, 1941. The attack left 1,000 s of men dead along with severe
damage to the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona was
the one battleship that still remains at the bottom of the harbor with
most of it?s crew entombed in it?s hull. This was the only attack on American
soil in WWII.
The Navy?s history in Hawaii goes back more than 100 years. In 1887, a treaty with King Kalakaua allowed the United States exclusive rights to Pearl Harbor, but it wasn?t until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898 that the need for Pearl Harbor?s support base became known. The Pearl Harbor shore establishment was created in 1901 with land at Kuahua Island. By 1916, Pearl Harbor ranked 10th in value among the U.S. Navy?s growing bases world-wide.
Today, Navel Base Pearl Harbor is one of the Navy?s most important bases in the Pacific. It has grown into a city with a network of piers, office buildings, housing units, clubs, churches and recreation facilities. The Navy-Marine Corps community in Hawaii numbers nearly 81,000 military, family members and civilian employees. Active duty personnel account for 27,500 of this number, - 18,500 Navy and 6,000 Marines. Economists also estimate that 79 cents of every dollar of local defense expenditures are spent in Hawaii, making the Navy and Marine Corps family a major contributor to the Hawaii economy.
USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor:
A first hand experience
by Kristen Inlow
The experience of being at the USS Arizona Memorial Park was awe inspiring and ghostly. The park itself is simple, but beautiful. There is a tiny gift shop/museum and an area that looks out over Pearl Harbor towards the Arizona. While waiting in line to begin the tour, there is a significant amount of chatter through the group. As people file into the theater, the chatter continues, then dies down as the theater lights dim. The film rolls to a captive audience and everyone watches in awe. As the house lights are brought up, there is silence. The silence continues as everyone boards the boat and heads to the memorial. The sense of death and respect mix in an eerie way as the boat passes by markers displaying the many battleships that were bombed and where they had lay in the aftermath. There is silence on the memorial. There are no kids running and screaming or and one laughing out loud. As people file up the steps and step inside, the realization of what had happened at this very spot dawns on the group and the quite continues. There is a pull to the back of the memorial where the wall of names of the dead stand. A part of the floor is open to the water below, where the crew lies in their watery grave. If you look hard enough, you can almost see the entire ship on either side of the memorial. You can almost hear the crew call to you as you leave this eerie site on a beautiful afternoon, fifty-seven years later.
Pearl Harbor Child : Dec. 7, 1941
Commander of Navy, in Hawaii