The Mil & Aero Blog
Friday, December 7, 2007
  The touch of history: remembering the USS Arizona

Posted by John Keller

I've always been haunted by my own thoughts and imagination of the ill-fated battleship USS Arizona, which was sunk in a fiery explosion 66 years ago today with 1,177 sailors and marines aboard. I've read about it, dreamed about it, built a model of it. It's one of those things I can't escape.

Today you'll read countless articles recounting the Pearl Harbor attack and the Arizona's sinking. Click here to see what I mean.

The most interesting, real, and chilling story I've read lately about Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona is about the little-known surviving artifacts of the sunken battleship, which still exist at Pearl Harbor behind locked gates and out of the public's view.

The story is entitled The 'Sacred Relics' of Pearl Harbor, which appeared three days ago in the Wall Street Journal. The account, by Brian M. Sobel, discusses the warship's surviving relics -- like the Arizona's main mast with its ladder still bolted inside -- that are stored in a secret location on Waipio Peninsula in Honolulu.

What strikes me most about the story is its account of the power of actually touching the metal that was part of the Arizona. It was the same for me a few years ago when I visited the Arizona Memorial. I spent several minutes, I remember, just leaning out from the memorial's visitor deck to put my hand on a big rusty pipe sticking up from the sunken warship, which still rests in the mud of Pearl Harbor, slowly leaking drops of heavy bunker fuel oil known as "black tears."

Touching always makes things seem more real. I don't know why, but it does. I've touched one of the B-29 bombers that dropped atom bombs on Japan to end the war that Pearl Harbor started. In my historical re-enacting experiences I've jerked the lanyard to fire an iron cannon that was part of a Union battery on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. I've held a rifle that was used at the Battle of Little Bighorn, and yet nothing moved me so deeply as reaching out and touching the Arizona that day.

I'm hoping the federal government takes good care of those artifacts from the Arizona battleship, and that one day all of us can go see them in a museum. I'd like more people to be able to experience what I did.

Take a moment today to remember Pearl Harbor, the Arizona, and the people who died there. It was our parents' and our grandparents' 9/11.
 
Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
The MAE editorial staff uses the Military Aerospace and Electronics Blog to share ...

Archives
November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / December 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 / March 2011 / April 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / November 2011 / December 2011 /


Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]