Visiting the Pearl Harbor Memorial

For the best view sit in the back of the boat.

Visiting the Pearl Harbor Memorial

It was raining that morning, not heavily, just a cool mist. We woke up early that morning and drove to the Pearl Harbor visitor center. If you are one of the first two thousand people there each day, you get a free ticket. This includes a ferry ride to the USS Arizona Memorial.

After sitting in traffic on the H1, we pulled into the parking lot. The main parking lot in front of the entrance was full, but the parking lot right across the street was still had empty spaces. This was lucky for us because when we exited the park later that day, that parking lot was completely full also.

We went through security. There were no metal detectors, but you were not allowed to bring in any bags. There were lockers that you could rent to put your bags in for a fee, but I just kept everything in my pocket. I only had a camera in my pocket anyways. We went up to the booth, and the attendant gave us our tickets. Did I mention they were free? Because they were free.

We had to wait at least an hour before it was our turn to load the ferry. I killed time by walking around looking at some of the monument and displays. There were several museum exhibits that you could look at for free. I walked over to the submarine and looked at it for a while, but I did not buy a ticket to go inside. Then I went into one of the gift shops and looked at some souvenirs. They had bullets, seashells, and toy tanks and airplanes. Of course, they also had refrigerator magnets, t-shirts, and that sorta stuff. Outside a navy band was playing. They were having a ceremony of some sort.

When it was finally our turn, we were ushered into a theater and shown a short film about World War II. Then we went out on to the docks and got onto the ferry. It was very crowded. The ferry was almost completely full. I had to find a seat at the back.

The memorial was built on top of the sunken battleship Arizona. It is a large white rectangular structure with holes cut out of it. I looked out one of these windows. I could see the battleship underneath the water. It was just right below the surface. Parts of it were still sticking out of the water. The surface of the water shimmered with oil stain that seems to be leaking from the battleship still to that day.

After about 15 minutes, they made us get back onto the ferry. This time I made a very intentional decision to sit at the back of the ferry because on the way towards the memorial, the back of the ferry had the worst view, but on the return trip, the back of the ferry had the best view because I could look back at the building and take pictures.




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