Pearl Harbor – the Old Memorials

While visiting the USS Missouri, I noted that alongside the dock, close to the old CPO housing, a white monument with no writing on the side facing the water. The monument seemed a lonely sentinel, hidden behind an ineffective wire fence.

The original Arizona Memorial juxtaposed in front of the 'new memorial'
The original Arizona Memorial juxtaposed in front of the ‘new memorial’

While researching online, I noted that during the 50th anniversary of the current Arizona Memorial, that a Marine guard fired volleys from the “remnants of the old memorial”. Sure enough, the memorial is to USS Arizona. There are old monuments scattered about the Island, and they almost seem an afterthought. I can’t find any conclusive information on when they were place, but it seems that it was in the very early 1950’s.

I understand the need to control crowds, but it seems strange that these old memorials are somewhat forgotten.

I note on-line that many visitors believe that the mooring quays are memorials. In a way they are by the very fact they haven’t been removed.

The old West Virginia and Tennessee memorial at far left with the Arizona memorial in the background
The old West Virginia and Tennessee memorial at far left with the Arizona memorial in the background

Still, what of the USS West Virginia? There is a memorial in West Virginia, at West Virginia University. There is a USS West Virginia Memorial Highway. Google ‘Syl Puccio’ for one story of how the West Virginia was saved from capsizing. Yet, to this day, there is no memorial at Pearl for this vessel. Read also of the horror of the 66 who were trapped below decks to suffer terrible fates.

What of the USS California? Perhaps there are reasons that these vessels don’t have grand memorials. One day, all of the survivors will be gone – surely it would be too late after that time to parade a new memorial.

I didn’t see a memorial at Kanehoe Bay, or Bellows Airfield, though there is a small and dignified memorial to a Japanese pilot killed when he tried to fly his damaged airplane into the hangar line at Kanehoe. It is felt that this was the first kamikaze attempt by a Japanese pilot during then war.

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