Visitors Center Remains Open At This Moving Oahu Tourist Attraction
The most emotionally moving attraction in the Hawaiian Islands is not accepting visitors.
The USS Arizona Memorial, part of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, is closed indefinitely due to a safety issue. There is a crack in the loading ramp to get onto the memorial and long-term repairs must be made before allowing visitors to return to this historic site.
You can still visit the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, which is part of the USS Arizona experience. This is an area of photographs and displays and includes a 23-minute film about the attack. Like the USS Arizona Memorial, it is free.
This is a statement issued by the National Park Service, which runs the memorial:
“Please be advised that boat transportation to the USS Arizona Memorial is temporarily suspended until further notice, due to a recently detected crack in the supporting structure for the visitor loading ramp.
“Visitors with tickets will view the documentary in the theater followed by a narrated harbor tour in the vicinity of the memorial without disembarking. We will inform the public of any changes to visitor access and make every effort to resume normal operations as soon as possible. Visitation to other amenities within the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, such as the free museums, shore side exhibits, snack shop, and Pacific Historic Parks Bookstore, will not be affected.
“Similarly, our partner sites, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, will not be affected. Visitor safety is our primary concern, and we thank you for your understanding and patience. For additional updates, please visit www.nps.gov/valr and our Facebook page.”
The Memorial is an incredibly moving experience. After viewing the film in the visitor center, you board a US Navy tender and are transported to the site where the battleship sits beneath the water. The ship was never raised after the attack because it was determined too damaged to save.
The ride out to the Arizona is silent and respectful. You then step aboard the memorial, which is a small dock above the ship. It displays all the names of the 1,177 sailors and marines killed on board when a Japanese bomb ripped through the decks and exploded i the ship’s ammunition area.
Be sure and look over the side to see droplets of oil rising to the surface of the water. It’s from a small leak in the ship. Some say it’s the tears of the sailors and marines.
You’re only there for 15 minutes or so but again, it’s very silent, only a few whispers of people who are amazed at the long list of names on the wall of the memorial.
Then it’s a reflective and quiet ride back to the visitor’s center.