USS Arizona’s mooring quay at Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor

Quay (noun)- a structure built on the land next to a river, lake, or ocean that is used as a place for boats to stop for loading and unloading freight and passengers

In June, my parents and I went to Hawaii for the first time. We tried to strike a balance between urban and nature, mountains and beaches, touristy and off-the-beaten-track sites, strenuous and relaxing activities. We split 10 days between Oahu, known as “The Gathering Place”, and Kauai, “The Garden Isle.”

On Oahu, we visited the USS Arizona Memorial as well as other parts of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The National Park Service did their best to accommodate over a million visitors each year through efficiency and a streamlined process. Think of the guided tour through the memorial as an assembly line with groups of 150 people passing through a station every 15-20 minutes. With the exception of the last station, a specific amount of time was allotted to the group to spend at each of the first four locations. The sequence goes like this:

  1. A documentary film on the history of the political background, the key figures, and the attack on Pearl Harbor
  2. A ride to the USS Arizona Memorial on a Navy operated shuttle boat
  3. Time on the 184-foot-long memorial structure that sits transversely on top of the mid-portion of the sunken battleship
  4. A ride back to the visitor center on the shuttle boat
  5. Walk through the wayside exhibits along the waterfront

Most of the memorial was informative, and some parts of it were moving and powerful. Yet, it was also hard to absorb and ponder in a crowd-filled place. As I did more research on the memorial and the mooring quays after my trip, I learned from a local news channel KITV that restoring and preserving these actively degrading concrete anchoring structures would cost an estimated 5 million dollars for the next five years!



Can you spot the USS Arizona Memorial?

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