In early July 2015 I was in Hawaii on a family re-union and took the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour. This is still a large operational base, so the authorities have constructed a visitor centre with extensive gardens on the western side of the harbour, easily accessible from Honolulu via the main freeway.
On arrival we were advised that entry to the Arizona Memorial was free, but we were required to book ahead and individual tickets were issued after sighting ID. (Passports for foreigners, drivers licences for US citizens). The base was on high alert due to the recent Independence Day celebrations. A ticket was also required for my 2-year old grand-daughter.
There were charges to visit other nearby sites including USS Bowfin (a WW2 submarine), USS Missouri (where the Japanese surrender was held) and the Pacific Aviation museum.
At the appropriate time we were taken to an auditorium to view a film of the attack on Pearl Harbour, which included an analysis of prior Japanese history which I thought was very balanced.
The Arizona memorial is only accessible by barge as the ship is located alongside mangroves adjacent to Ford Island across the harbour. We boarded the barge manned by US Marines, and were taken for a short ride across the harbour to the Arizona site where an open memorial building has been constructed across the ship. It is painted in dazzling white and stands out starkly against the mangroves, the water and the nearby ships and buildings.
On entry to the memorial you immediately feel the reverence of the building as it sits a-stance of the ship still housing some 900 sailors who were unable to be saved when the vessel rolled over and sunk.
The outline of the ship is visible from the visitor platform and the housing of one gun is still visible above the waterline. The Arizona still leaks bunker oil, but as the ship is a war grave no-one is allowed to enter it.
Around 2400 US personnel lost their lives during the attack, and their names are inscribed in a marble wall on one end of the memorial.
One interesting feature of the memorial, described to us by the duty personnel, is the ability of former Arizona crew, who survived the war, to be interred in the ship with their former shipmates. To date 9 former crew members have accepted this offer, and their names are inscribed on a separate marble monument on the memorial.
After the visit we had lunch in the extensive memorial gardens, which also has a display of those who lost their lives, and a bronze map of the location of the various vessels during the attack.
On the way back to Honolulu we visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific located in the crater of a huge extinct volcano which houses around 13,000 headstones of US and Allied personnel who died in the Pacific during WW2.