Monthly Archives: December, 2014

The Arizona

When Mary Jane asked me way back in March if I would like to go to Hawaii I was momentarily struck with disbelief.  I knew that we had already planned a month-long trip to Europe for June…and Hawaii seemed extremely ambitious for our 2014 travel schedule.  When I soon discovered that she was not kidding I responded with a hearty yes!  Traveling with two of my favorite people, Ron and Ira Kaye, to paradise, seemed to good to be true.  Well, the months flew by and December…the Hawaii month… soon arrived.  We landed at the Honolulu Airport after an eight and one half hour flight from Dallas, Texas.  After a quick vehicle change at the Thrifty Car Rental, I did not fit in the Mustang, we were off on highway H1 for the twelve-mile slow drive to Ewa Beach and our cabin.  The cabin was literally located about twenty feet from the Pacific Ocean.  You could set on the porch and feel the spray from the waves.  The constant sound of the waves coming in to the shore was heavenly.

I think that I shall take events that happened during the week somewhat out of sequential order and discuss our very moving visit to the Arizona memorial and Pearl Harbor.  On the morning of December 7th, 1941 the empire of Japan conducted a surprise military attack against the naval base at Pearl Harbor.  The attack was brought by three hundred and fifty-three fighter, bombers, and torpedo planes in two waves.  Eight naval battleships were damaged and four of them were sunk.  All were later raised except for the Arizona.  Six of the eight battleships were later returned to service.  Also there were three cruisers, three destroyers, an antiaircraft training ship and a minelayer sunk.  One hundred and eighty-eight U.S. aircrafts were destroyed.  Two thousand and forty-three were killed.

Simply being on the site of this horrendous tragedy was extremely moving.  I was very touched when I noticed the large amount of Japanese visitors there were including a large number of school age children.

To reach the Arizona memorial we boarded a large boat driven by and escorted by young soldiers who were very somber and reverent. The Arizona was hit four times by Japanese bombers.  The Arizona was struck by an armor-piercing bomb which entered the ammunition area of the ship and resulted in a catastrophic explosion.  The ship is the watery tomb for nearly one thousand crewmen.  One thousand and seventy-seven were killed but most of the bodies could not be recovered due to the horrible effects of the tremendous heat.  I watched a video of one of the soldiers, now old, who described the horror of what he witnessed shortly after the Arizona was hit as he recounted many soldiers who were no more than piles of dust.  He wept as he told of the wind blowing them away while he felt so helpless in recovering them.DSCN1892 DSCN1895

The first photo is of the structure that straddles the sunken Arizona along the middle of the ship.  The second is part of the ship that is above water.

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You can see the oil in the photo on the right that is on top of the water.  One to two quarts of oil per day still leaks from the sunken ship.  This is after seventy-three years.  Many refer to this as the tears of the crew.

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These photos are of the Arizona that is plainly visible under the water.

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Japanese children Hickams