Today the battle-scarred, submerged remains of the battleship USS Arizona—the final resting place for almost half of the over 2,500 lives lost on the morning of December 7, 1941—remains as a memorial to lost souls and the cost of war. The Arizona was only one of the casualties from the deadly attack by the Japanese. Aptly, President F. D. Roosevelt described it as, “a date which will live in infamy.” Today, we recall and remember those words and pass the knowledge to yet another generation so they may also realize the cost of infamy (the state of being well-known for some bad quality or deed).
Iconic images of the Arizona’s burning bridge, billowing black smoke and listing mast and superstructure dominated the front page of newspapers and endure to tell a story. Indelibly impressed into the national memory, American’s recalled the image with each issuance of the battle cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor.” Today, the battle cry and the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor still serve as reminders to honor the sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines present when the “sleeping giant” was awaken.
For those fortunate enough to visit the USS Arizona and experience the power and emotion present on the memorial, the “black tears of the Arizona” are likely etched into your memory.
On December 6, 1941, the USS Arizona took on a full load of fuel—nearly 1.5 million gallons—in preparation for its scheduled trip to the mainland later that month. The next day, much of the oil was expended feeding the explosion and subsequent fires that destroyed the ship following its attack by Japanese bombers. However, despite the raging fire and ravages of time, some 500,000 gallons are still slowly seeping out of the ship’s submerged wreckage. Nearly 70 years after its demise, the USS Arizona continues to spill up to nine quarts of oil into the harbor each day.
Scientists have raised alarm bells warning of the possibility of a “catastrophic” eruption of oil from the wreckage. The result would be extensive damage to the Hawaiian shoreline and disruption of U.S. naval functions in the area. The NPS and other governmental agencies continue to monitor the Arizona’s deterioration but are reluctant to perform extensive repairs or modifications due to the Arizona’s role as a “war grave.” Thus, over 70 years later, we are still moved by the black tears of the Arizona.
If you have visited the USS Arizona memorial and felt its emotional gravity, share you comments of feelings in the comment section.
Growing up in Pennsylvanias game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Daves writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersens Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersens Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!
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