Pearl Harbor: USS Arizona Memorial

Day Two of Hawaii we had to get up early to go on our free Aflac outing. We chose to do Pearl Harbor. I did it when I visited Hawaii in high school and I felt it was the best choice for Zach to get to go. If you ever visit Hawaii, it’s a MUST SEE. It’s part of our nations history and, to me, it’d be wrong to visit the area and not see it. Zach loves history type stuff so I knew he’d enjoy it. Plus it was one of the only choices that included free lunch, and we’re all about getting the most for free that we can 😉

We actually debated about doing the dolphin excursion instead, as it’s way too expensive to ever probably do on our own – but I looked into it and found out I wouldn’t be allowed to swim with the dolphins due to pregnancy. But, it’s not what you’re thinking! The reason is that dolphins use sonar which is similar to what the dr offices use for ultrasounds so the dolphins can see the baby in my stomach and will be SO excited and happy that they will ignore all the other people trying to swim with them and would all gather around me. Isn’t that neat?

We had to be down on the bus at 7:30. It was TOUGH getting up that early and we made a stop at an ABC store to grab some breakfast. Kinda reminded me of our Bermuda trip eating candy bars for breakfast 😉

I opted for milk and cookies!

I’m really glad we chose to go on this tour! We probably wouldn’t have paid for a tour when we come back on our own and it’s worthwhile as the tour guides know so much more information. We had an hour to look around at Pearl Harbor before boarding a little boat to take us to the Memorial.

Information about each ship that was lost during WWII

The USS Missouri and the USS Arizona (under water)

I thought it was very moving how each boat information listed those lives that we lost aboard it and said “On Eternal Patrol”


a picture where you can see the Japanese torpedoes under the water on their way to hit the ships

the actual anchor from the Arizona

The reason so many men died on the Arizona that day was that they had a big party the night before and their ship had won the battle of the bands type contest (each ship in those days had their own band). The reward for winning was that they got to sleep in the next day and not have to get woken up at their usual early morning time. Isn’t that so sad??? Mr. Rusty told us he heard that one man got up that next morning to go to church services (Dec 7th was a Sunday) so he didn’t sleep in with the rest of the crew…and his life was spared because he made that choice. It pays to go to church huh? 😉

I thought it was very neat how so many of those that did survive from the Arizona that day decided to be buried with the ship upon their death.

super cool trees

The two mountain ranges made a perfect way for the Japanese planes to be hidden and a path through them led directly to Pearl Harbor.

The devastation at Pearl Harbor

reading the lists of names

the boat we’d be riding to the memorial

poem by Elanor Roosevelt

beautiful view (click to make larger)

quote from President Roosevelt

in such a pretty place it’s difficult to imagine the horror of that day

We had some time to tour a little museum and we both wish we could have stayed longer to look at everything. A lot of the information covered conspiracy theories about Dec 7th and how some people believed the president knew it was coming but let it happen so he’d have a reason to enter the war. It was interesting how the Japanese planes showed up on the US radars but they ignored the planes thinking they were some of our own from California (if they had read them more closely they would have realized that they were coming from the opposite direction of California!). I thought it was interesting that the President had written a letter to the Emperor of Japan only one day prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was always an X-Files fan growing up so conspiracy stuff is always intriguing to me – although I never believe any of it either 🙂

standing at the crossroads of the pacific!

The USS Nevada was the only ship to leave port that day but was quickly taken ashore because the captain realized that if they got out to open sea, they would be taken down by the Japanese and then block the channel making everything worse for those at Pearl Harbor.

We noticed the flag was at half mast but it wasn’t in any of the pictures or anything so we asked around to a ton of people to find out why…the best we could find was someone said it was in honor of some fireman that had died or something. Glad they were so knowledgeable…I also asked which had more casualties, Dec 7th or 9/11 and the guy wasn’t sure but said probably 9/11.

in front of part of the ship (it’s the part that operates the BIG guns)


more of the ship

I think the architecture of the memorial is beautiful

part of the wall of names (there were no Parkers or Sedgleys listed)

the survivors who chose to be placed at rest with their shipmates

view of the Missouri (the next stop on our tour)

We felt kinda awkward smiling? It reminded me of when we visited Ground Zero in NYC…do you smile? look sad? we opted for the smiling!

The USS Arizona is still leaking oil! It leaks about 5 gallons per DAY. Very crazy! They check it to make sure it’s not hurting the environment…it surprised us that all the hardcore “ocean huggers” let that continue.

I know I’m probably forgetting something…I’m hoping Zach will read this and help me fill in anything I forgot. We REALLY enjoyed seeing the Memorial and I enjoyed it more as an adult than I did as a teenager. You just understand things better and I think after 9/11 we all feel more of a connection to this type of devastation on our own soil.


  1. Danielle Eckerle
    November 8, 2011 / 7:54 pm

    I loved this post! Can't wait to go there and see it myself, the history of WWII is so interesting to me (we got married on December 7th). Some of the conspiracy theories are pretty good and do a great job at convincing you they could be real, but I don't know what to believe. Just think in a few years we'll have (more) for the Iraq war… and I still wont know what to believe on that and I lived it haha. 

  2. Nicole
    June 28, 2013 / 8:06 am

    I went and it was truly an experience I will never forget. The most amazing place I've ever been. My step dad was in the military so we got to stay in the hotel that is to the right of the memorial across the bridge

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