HONOLULU – Damage to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu was worse than expected and it will remain closed indefinitely, officials said.
The Arizona Memorial will remain closed for an unknown period after engineers found the damage was “more significant than originally anticipated,” FOX News reported.
Boat transportation to the attraction was suspended May 6 after one of the vessel operators noticed a crack on the outside of the memorial, Hawaii News Now reported.
Engineers responded and began short-term repairs.
“The maintenance staff went out promptly to investigate and determined that in the interest of public safety, we were going to shut down operations that day so that we could have experts come in and do a better analysis of what the problem entailed,” ~Jay Blount, public information officer for the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
“There is a brow or an edge where the visitor ramp meets the memorial, and at that point, there’s been some fissures located on the exterior,” explained Blount. “After further investigation on the interior, it was determined that the structure is not supporting the loading ramp the way that we need.”
Other areas of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center remain open.
When the Japanese began their attack on Pearl Harbor just after 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona was hit almost immediately. At 8:10 a.m., an 800-kilogram bomb dropped right on the starboard side, and moments later, the forward magazine powder lit up, exploding and destroying that part of the ship. Two turrets fell 20 feet, and the forward superstructure and foremast came falling into the void left by the previous explosion. Fires broke out across the ship.
Many brave men and women fought to defend the ship and rescue those who were trapped as the ship went down, but in the end, most of the crew members – 1,177 total – died on the ship.
In the months that followed Pearl Harbor and for the duration of the war, the USS Arizona became a symbol to the soldiers and citizens. It symbolized what was being fought for – freedom and the lives of the crew members who tragically lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. Efforts were made to recover the bodies of those trapped on board, but over 900 of them were never found. Parts of the ship were also scrapped, but until the 1950s, the USS Arizona stayed at the bottom of the harbor. History of Pearl Harbor
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.