Pearl Harbor

Last weekend I spent an afternoon with a friend who had just returned from a week in Hawaii. Yes, it was painful, given the solid eight weeks of rain we Vancouverites have just endured. Yes, I turned green with envy when I learned it had been her fifth trip to the Aloha State. And yes, it brought back memories of my (sniff) single trip to Oahu.

Oahu is a popular destination for first-time visitors to Hawaii, and a bonus for me was that Oahu is the location of Pearl Harbor, which let me feed my inner history geek. Since today is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I thought a post about my visit to the harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial would be timely.

The memorial straddles the wreck of the USS Arizona, which took a direct hit on December 7, 1941, and sank within minutes. The battleship burned for three days, having taken on more than a million gallons of fuel the day before. Most of the 1177 sailors and marines who died on the Arizona are entombed in the shipwreck that lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. Oil still seeps out of the wreck, as much as nine quarts of oil a day.

Pearl Harbor was the deadliest single attack on American soil until September 11, 2001. In just under two hours, 20 ships and 300 airplanes were damaged or destroyed and 2400 Americans lost their lives. The USS Arizona Memorial is a touching memorial to 1177 of those lives.

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