Remember Pearl Harbor – Tour & Commemorative Giveaway – Day 2

ph-collage-2Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the United States into World War II. Last month I was privileged to visit Pearl Harbor with my husband. This week I’m sharing photographs from our visit, plus some historical background. In addition, I’m giving away some commemorative items from Pearl Harbor – the official 75th anniversary commemorative ornament, Pearl Harbor: The Way It Was by Scott C.S. Stone, and a pen.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on any of the three posts or send me an email at sarah [at] sarahsundin [dot] com – you have three chances to win. The giveaway ends Sunday, December 11, 2016, and I’ll announce the winner here on my blog on Monday, December 12, 2016.



Sarah Sundin at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7 Nov 2016 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

Sarah Sundin at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7 Nov 2016 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

I hope these posts help you reflect on the gravity of the attack and the sacrifice of the 2459 servicemen and civilians who died that day. Let’s never forget the lessons of that day.

On Monday I shared pictures from the Pacific Aviation Museum. Today, I’ll share from the USS Arizona Memorial, and on Friday about the submarine USS Bowfin and the battleship USS Missouri, where the Japanese signed the surrender documents officially ending World War II on Sept. 2, 1945.

The US Navy’s Role at Pearl Harbor

The United States established a naval station at Pearl Harbor in 1899, and in May 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt moved Pacific Fleet Headquarters from San Diego to Pearl Harbor as a deterrent to Japanese aggression. Such a concentration of capital ships became a tempting target as Japanese military leaders hoped to wipe out American naval strength in the Pacific so they could carry out their conquests unmolested.

On December 7, 1941, 353 Japanese planes took off from aircraft carriers north of Hawaii in a daring surprise attack. However, the first shot that day was actually fired by an American ship – and the first loss that day was Japanese. At 0645, destroyer USS Ward detected a Japanese midget submarine off the entrance to Pearl Harbor – and sank it with assistance from a Navy PBY Catalina aircraft. However, word of this contact did not spread in time.

At 0745, the first wave of aircraft attacked, concentrating first on airfields and then on Battleship Row, with the ships lined up neatly – to prevent sabotage, which was considered a greater danger than an air raid. At 0854, the second wave hit. By the end of the attack, five battleships had been sunk–the Arizona, Oklahoma, California, West Virginia, and Utah. The battleship USS Nevada managed to get underway and hoped to clear the channel, but damage forced the captain to make the brave and dangerous decision to beach the gigantic ship. This saved the Nevada, which went on to bombard the landing beaches of Normandy on D-Day. The California and West Virginia would eventually be raised and repaired, and the Oklahoma was salvaged, but the wrecks of the Arizona and Utah remain where they sank and have since become memorials.

Of the 2459 servicemen and civilians killed that day, 2008 were members of the US Navy, and 1177 were on the USS Arizona.

USS Arizona Memorial

Each year 2 million people visit the USS Arizona Memorial. This year, my husband and I were honored to join them. The tour starts at the visitor center with many sites to see and a museum. At the designated tour time, visitors watch a well-done and touching movie about the attack. Navy-run shuttle boats transport visitors to the memorial.

The striking white building of the memorial straddles the sunken Arizona. An air of quiet reverence settles as you disembark and enter the memorial. Knowledgeable docents are present to answer questions and educate the public.

Gazing out the side windows, you look down at the submerged superstructure of the battleship, and the immensity of the loss is striking. Seventy-five years after the ship was sunk, oil from her tanks is still leaking to the surface, creating a sheen to the water.

Last you enter a quiet room with a towering wall engraved with the names of the 1177 sailors and Marines who died in the attack on the Arizona. Survivors who have later had their ashes interred with their former shipmates have their names engraved on two smaller plaques below. This is incredibly moving sight, realizing the truth that those 1177 men were sons, grandsons, brothers, uncles, husbands, fathers, and friends, who left loved ones behind.

On this Pearl Harbor Day, let’s remember.

And please visit the other posts:

Day 1: The Role of Aviation During the Attack – Pictures from the Pacific Aviation Museum

Day 3: From Tragedy to Triumph – Pictures from the USS Bowfin and the USS Missouri


26 Responses to “Remember Pearl Harbor – Tour & Commemorative Giveaway – Day 2”

  1. Katie

    Thank you sharing your photos and the story of that day. I had the privilege of visiting the Arizona memorial last year. The immensity of the loss certainly strikes you while there.

  2. Cathy C

    Enjoyed and appreciated very much this second installment in the Pearl Harbor visit and story. Among other things that really caught me on our visit about twenty plus years ago, and I notice you have a picture of it, is the oil still remaining on the water surfaces……so many, many years later.

  3. Emily Akin

    Dec. 7, 1941 changed a lot of lives. My dad was in college at the time. He left school at the end of the term and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He was a crew member on a B-17, flew 35 missions over Germany in 1944.

  4. Sheri

    Thank you for this post, photos, and the information, Sarah. Very sobering, indeed….. My heart still swells with gratitude for the many who lost their lives and their loved ones in the attack on Pearl Harbor and in the war.

  5. Gabrielle

    Thank you for the post and the photos! I’m hoping to one day not only visit Pearl but to also write a novel about the attack.

  6. Allyson Wieland

    Very sobering. Thank you for helping us remember.

  7. WendyBrz

    Hallowed ground. We cried our way through the day we spent at Pearl Harbor. Those who maintain the site do it great honor.

  8. Hannah Lefevers

    Wonderful blog post. Thank you for remembering this day in U. S. History.

  9. Amber

    Thank you for sharing your visit. I would love to see it one day.

  10. Lisa

    I had the incredible privilege of visiting the USS Arizona Memorial 44 years ago when I was 14 years old. It is difficult to find the words to describe what an impact that visit had on me. Seeing your pictures takes me right back to that November day. I remember my heart being filled with such gratitude for the sacrifices made for my freedom. As a 58 year old adult, I’m so much more grateful for those who gave their lives that day – sons, grandsons, husbands, brothers, nephews, cousins, friends, fiancés, boyfriends, etc. One thing I’ll always remember is knowing that those men were trapped so quickly and in the midst of an ordinary Sunday morning. Now that I am married to a “sole surviving son” & have given birth to a “sole surviving son” I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. I would always want my men to be a “MAN among MEN” – someone who could be counted on even on the darkest of days. My Daddy had 5 brothers & they were all in the service during WWII except their baby brother who was born too late. I have two Great Uncles who were POWs in Germany (one married the other’s sister.) One looked across the prison yard & recognized the other by his “SWAGGER.” The one with “SWAGGER” escaped! Another Great Uncle was a Navigator on a Higgins Boat at D-Day. I’ve always been extremely patriotic and appreciative of our veterans and active duty personnel. FoxNews just showed one of the remaining Pearl Harbor Vets (he was 19 then so he’s 94 now) and he said, “It’s terrible when I go talk to a class of students. They literally go to sleep while I’m talking!” He concluded by saying, “I don’t think they even know where Pearl Harbor is!” WHAT A SHAME!!

  11. Hilger

    Such a horribly sad day for our country—the families who lost loved ones and the beginning of a war that would change the world in unimaginable ways as technology advanced, and new items were created to defeat the enemy.

  12. Rose Blackard

    Love hearing about your visit and seeing your pictures! Looks like you are having an amazeing visit.Thank you for sharing. So awesome you could be at Pearl Harbor for their 75th anniversary.

  13. Mary McClellan

    I really do appreciate seeing the pictures and the detail is great. I think it is such a wonderful thing to remind all of us that freedom has been bought at a tremendous cost and that we should be so grateful.
    Thank you for doing this.

  14. Sharon A

    I was not aware of the survivors who later had their ashes interred with their former shipmates. Thank you for your postings this week. It is good to remember.

  15. Colleen H.

    Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and trip with us!

  16. Sara Hunt

    My family and I visited Pearl Harbor several years ago. I was moved to tears by the USS Arizona Memorial. The gravity of what happened there still haunts me. I felt the same emotions when I was privileged enough to visit Hiroshima, Japan two years ago. I felt as if I had seen the beginning and the end of such a horrific war.

  17. Lacey

    Thanks for the giveaway and post with pictures! Looks like a really interesting trip. My husband loves history, this would be a great trip to go on with him.

  18. Lynne M Feuerstein

    Thank you for this post,Sarah! Really appreciate you sharing your pictures with us,especially since I’m unable to visit in person right now. The pictures and descriptions are so well done I feel almost like I was there. Although I’ve known about Pearl Harbor for awhile now seeing these posts really brings home how tragic this day was.

  19. Betti

    Sarah, thanks so much for sharing these pictures. This time of the year always has a sobering effect on me, more so on this 75th anniversary. The tragedy of this day is just staggering.

  20. Xochi E. Dixon

    The photos of the attack made me cry. We’ve visited Pearl Harbor twice, and want to visit again. It’s an emotional experience. If God blesses us with a third trip, I’d like to visit your blog before we go. Thanks for your dedication to honoring this era.

  21. Caryl Kane

    Sarah, thank you for sharing this incredible post. I’ve not visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial. May we never forget their sacrifice!