Ho'okele Staff | May 26, 2012
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the USS Arizona Memorial, the U.S. Navy, National Park Service and the Pacific Historic Parks have announced their exclusive Pearl Harbor sunset boat tours May 27 and 28.
These boat tours are being organized as a fundraiser for the refurbishment and restoration of the USS Arizona Memorial.
The USS Arizona Memorial is the final resting place for 1,177 Sailors and Marines.
The majority of these Sailors were entombed in the ship when an armor-piercing bomb cut through its decks and hit the Arizona’s armory that caused a horrific explosion. More than 30 men who survived the initial blast have chosen to be buried alongside their shipmates aboard the USS Arizona upon their passing.
The golden anniversary Pearl Harbor boat tours are open to the public and will start at 5:30 p.m. They will offer a fully narrated tour around Ford Island with a stop at the USS Arizona Memorial.
Each tour will include a National Park Service official tour guide. Couples are asked to donate a minimum of $50 or more to the restoration fund of the USS Arizona Memorial.
“Time, exposure to the elements and the high demand to visit this site has left the USS Arizona Memorial in need of repairs,” stated Paul DePrey, superintendent for the National Park Service in Pearl Harbor, in a news release.
DePrey added, “This course of the coming year, we are planning to replace sections of the flooring, make repairs to the entry hall, assembly hall, and refurbishing the exterior surface of the structure. The restoration also includes the replacement of the entire marble wall in the shrine room, which displays the names of the fallen heroes. The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most dramatic and identifiable pieces of mid-century modernist architecture in the Pacific. We must act as good stewards of this site to ensure that it has another 50 years ahead of it.”
Individuals and families interested in the golden anniversary Pearl Harbor boat tours can visit www.PacificHistoricParks.org or call 954-8721. Donations for the refurbishment of the USS Arizona Memorial can also be made by visiting http://restore.arizonamemorial.org. Art and essay contest
In addition, the National Park Service has also announced the launch of their USS Arizona Memorial art and essay contest.
The USS Arizona Memorial opened to the public on Memorial Day, 1962. Last year, approximately 1.7 million people visited the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor, making it the number-one visitor destination in Hawaii. People come from all over the world to this historic site to see where World War II began for the United States on Dec. 7, 1941.
The 50th anniversary art and essay contest is open to all individuals except for employees of the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks, immediate family members and its affiliates. Individuals may submit one entry for art and one entry for the essay contest.
Complete contest rules and prizes are available at www.PacificHistoric.Parks.org and contest applications must be submitted by June 15. The contest is open to three age groups: grades K-6, grades 7-12 and individuals 18 years of age or older. Entries will be judged on creativity, originality and artistic or writing ability.
“This year’s 50th anniversary theme for the USS Arizona Memorial is ‘built to honor and understand,’ DePrey said. “We are inviting students and adults from all over the world to participate in our 50th anniversary art and essay contest to express their emotions and feelings for this historic place.”
U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Johnnie R. Robbins