Friday, November 21, 2008
I started my visit to Pearl Harbor at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. You first come to a Museum dedicated to the Arizona and the story of the attack on December 7th. You see a movie detailing the attack, and the fate of many of the Pacific Fleet ships that were sunk that day. You then board a ferry boat and ride out to the memorial.
I've long been fascinated by the story of December 7th, enough so that my primary complaint with the awful Ben Affleck movie wasn't the horrible love story or the wooden acting, it was that I could tell that little effort had been made to conform film to the real events of the attack. As I watched, I kept waiting for the U.S.S. Nevada to break for the ocean, and the U.S.S. Shaw to explode, but these and other major events of the battle were never dramatized.
However, actually traveling to battleship row, and seeing the shattered remains of the Arizona rusting at the bottom of the harbor was a sobering thing. Seeing the wreck made that day real in ways that history books and movies can never match. Standing on the memorial you can look down and see oil leaking from wreck, over 60 years after the explosion of her forward magazine doomed 1,177 of the 1,400 men aboard. The survivors say that the oil will stop leaking when the last of them dies.