U.S.S. ARIZONA (BB-39)

I hope the reader doesn’t need too great a “primer” on the USS ARIZONA (BB-39).  ARIZONA* is undoubtedly the most famous ship in Pearl Harbor.  She still rests where she settle into the mud on December 7, 1941 as a result of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor (and many other installations throughout O’ahu as well.)  1,177 men were killed in ARIZONA many of whom are still at their battlestations as you read this.

A beautiful and striking memorial has been erected over the ship, and it is the biggest single attraction in the entire state.  As a matter of interest, many Navy ships use the ARIZONA memorial as a site for re-enlisting Sailors, and because ARIZONA was never decommissioned, to this day the crews of Navy ships passing ARIZONA come to attention and “render honors” to her by coming smartly to attention and rendering a salute to her as the modern ship passes.  I have done this dozens of times in the seven years I was homeported in Pearl Harbor, and there were tears in my eyes every time.  A powerful experience for any American, but how very special for all of us in the Naval Service.

ARIZONA was the first ship to which my grandfather was ordered upon his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1917.

(* you may be interested to know that Navy ships are properly referred to by only their name, without using “the” in front of it.  While it may sound correct to say “the ARIZONA…” it is in fact not correct.  Think about it: you don’t say “the Billy pitched a great game last night,”…no, you say “Billy pitched a great game last night.”  Same thing.)

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