Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Remember, Honor, Understand #SOL16 Day 24

I touch the past and the past whispers to me when I visit memorials and monuments.

I have often created imaginative, historic worlds in my mind. I travel to these places, often through reading, but also through physically visiting the sites of historically important events. 

From the moment I first learned about the  national memorial honoring the servicemen who died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, I've longed to visit the site, which is accessible only by boat. 

The memorial symbolizes the high points of American strength on both ends and the low point of December 7, 1941 in its gently curving design.
The symbol on the right is the Tree of Life representing rebirth and renewal. The tree, as designed by the memorial' architect Alfred Preis also reminds visitors that we are all interconnected.  The tree is on both sides of the memorial.
Sunlight streams through it into the wall of names honoring those who died with the Arizona. 1,177 crew died with the ship.
The memorial straddles the remains of the Arizona, much of which is visible to onlookers. I saw the black tears of oil that still seep from the sunken vessel. 
Only the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. has evoked such a strong emotional response in me. I've thought about why I felt touched deeply by visiting the Arizona memorial.

Perhaps knowing the servicemen are entombed in a watery grave within the sunken ship made the experience more sacred.
Perhaps the quiet simplicity of the memorial's design stirred my emotions. I tend to react more emotionally to simple designs than to others. 
Certainly seeing the names of the fallen breaths a personal element into the monument's narrative.

Our memorials tell stories, stories that invite us to remember those who sacrificed their lives for ours, stories that ask us to honor the sacrifice, stories that challenge us to understand so that we'll have no need for future memorials.


  1. We visited Pearl Harbor in Dec of 2013. The single most memorable thing about our trip. I loved our entire trip, but this site, this memorial, brought me to tears. Did you do the audio tour? Listening to the voices of those who were there was an experience

  2. Your post is touching and your respect for our fallen is admirable. Thank you for sharing your moments with us here in your beautiful post.

  3. My grandfather has talked about hearing about the bombing on the radio many times. I'm glad you had a chance to visit. A moving post.

  4. I have always wanted to see Pearl Harbor; I think because my father was career Navy and I have always had such respect for the military. The idea of the watery graves is so sad. Thank you for the photos - it is a beautiful design.