The impressive USS Arizona Memorial lies a short way offshore and can only be visited by boat as part of a 75-minute tour. Peer into the water from the viewing platforms, and just below the surface you’ll see the rusting remains of one of the most significant relics in U.S. history. The bridge-like memorial straddles the hulk of the wrecked USS Arizona, which was bombarded on this spot by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, during the fatal attacks on Pearl Harbor. Nearly all of the 1,177 military personnel who lost their lives that day are interred here.
Your visit to the USS Arizona Memorial will commence in the Visitor Center on the mainland. Here, a couple of exhibitions, “Road to War” and “Attack,” help paint the picture of the Pearl Harbor attack. Personal items belonging to the sailors, as well as photographs and detailed explanations, provide an informative prelude to your tour. You are invited to watch a 23-minute documentary that shows which events took place here during World War II. Afterwards, you climb aboard a shuttle boat and make your way to the curved white shape of the memorial.
The memorial is divided into three main areas. The entrance hall displays one of the ship’s original anchors, while in the assembly hall you can peer through the floor to the decks of the USS Arizona itself. Some people choose to throw flowers through the opening to honor the victims. The final section of the memorial is the shrine, with the engraved names of the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the attack.
The USS Arizona Memorial is open daily, except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Since this is a grave site, respectful behavior is required at all times. No bags are allowed onto the memorial, but you can rent a locker.
Tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial are free from the Visitor Center on the mainland, but spaces often run out by mid-morning. To avoid missing out, get there early or pay a small fee to reserve tickets online in advance.