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Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona started her career in 1917, and set sail for Europe but the Treaty of Versailles, that ended WW1, was signed before she could reach the coast of Europe. She was modernized in 1930, guns, armor and controls to a better standard than she had before.

She was the first ship to explode, at 8:06 on December 7, 1941. The explosion was caused by a armor piercing bomb that hit her ammunition. The Arizona sunk within minutes, taking 1177 men with her. The memorial now stands over the bridge of the ship, a brilliant white bridge that totally stands out. The bridge is sagging in the middle a bit, and the edges point up, as a symbol of hope. In the memorial there is a huge slab with the names of the 1177 sailors who died there, as well as the survivors, who were buried there when they died. The first ideas of a memorial began to circulate in 1943, and it was approved by Eisenhower in 1958. Construction was finished in '61, and the memorial was dedicated in 1962. It takes a quick boat ride to get from the Visitor's Center to the Memorial.

The Americans were totally taken by surprise. They had no time to react, and by the time the day was done, over 2000 people were killed, over a thousand more wounded, 12 ships sunken or beached, 9 ships damaged, 164 airplanes destroyed, and 159 airplanes damaged. All of the ships, except the Arizona, Oklahoma, and Utah were salvaged and later saw action. This attack also shocked the entire nation, because the Japanese had committed an act of violence without declaring war. But the Japanese made two major mistakes. One, they missed all of the fuel tanks. If they had hit those tanks, it would have crippled the American Navy for at least a year. Second, they missed the construction docks that allowed the damaged battleships to be rebuilt. Those two mistakes probably cost the Japanese the war. This event also drew the US into WW2, signifying a turning point in the war.