I've always been a World War II buff given the military background in my life. My grandfather was in World War II and I am a Navy veteran myself so when I visited Oahu a trip to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial was a must. It was an honor and privilege to be at this site to pay respect to those who fought and those who sacrificed their lives and remain behind. Join me on this visual journey through the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, and the Day of Infamy at Pearl Harbor as I do my best to showcase the beauty and solemnity captured through the lens, and uncover the details of the fateful day that forever changed the world.
The Day of Infamy | Bombing of Pearl Harbor
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbor, marking a turning point in World War II. Early that Sunday morning, waves of Japanese aircraft descended upon the harbor, bombing and repeatedly attacking the American fleet. The attack resulted in the loss of over 2,400 American lives, the destruction of battleships, aircraft, and infrastructure, and propelled the United States into a global conflict.
USS Arizona | The Tragic Loss and Ultimate Sacrifice
Among the ships caught in the devastating attack was the USS Arizona, a Pennsylvania-class battleship. A Japanese bomb struck the ship, igniting its forward ammunition magazine and causing a catastrophic explosion. The USS Arizona sank within minutes, taking the lives of 1,177 crew members. Today, the submerged wreckage of the USS Arizona serves as the focal point of the USS Arizona Memorial, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor stands as a powerful testament to the events of December 7, 1941, and the lives lost during that fateful day. The memorial is the final resting place for 1,102 of the 1,177 Sailors and Marines that perished on during the Pearl Harbor attack.
Exploring the USS Arizona Memorial
The USS Arizona Memorial's design creates a serene atmosphere, inviting visitors to reflect on the events that unfolded at Pearl Harbor. The centerpiece is the white marble structure that straddles the sunken battleship. Inside, visitors can pay their respects and view the names of the fallen inscribed on the marble wall.
It was very important to me to approach the memorials with sensitivity, while attempting to capture both the grandeur and the solemnity that emanate from these historical vessels.
USS Missouri | The End of World War II
The USS Missouri, also known as the "Mighty Mo," played a pivotal role in World War II, serving as the site where the Japanese officially surrendered to the Allied forces, marking the end of the war. On September 2, 1945, aboard the decks of the USS Missouri, representatives from Japan and the Allied powers signed the Instrument of Surrender. Today, visitors can explore this historic battleship and witness the location where peace was restored.
USS Missouri and USS Arizona | At Rest in Pearl Harbor
The USS Missouri rests in the harbor near the USS Arizona Memorial and in this photo, with the USS Missouri standing tall in front of the USS Arizona Memorial, this image captures two very pivotal moments in U.S. history. Photographing the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri was such a moving experience and a unique opportunity to capture the emotion, historical significance, and architectural beauty of these iconic sites.
Pearl Harbor Survivors | Louis Conter
As of this writing, Louis Conter is the sole survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. You can read about his story on this tragic day at the Arizona Final Salute website. Watch the following video to hear him tell the story as he reviews the events surrounding the attack.