Went to the USS Arizona Memorial today.
I’ve been to Hawaii several times, but never had the honor to visit the memorial. I was determined to visit because this is a big deal. Pearl Harbor influences the United States approach to everything we do, because no one wants another event like that. You say September 11th was like that, but no it wasn’t. The chances of a heavily armed force crossing the Pacific to launch a surprise attack on the nation’s largest naval base is non-existent today. Mostly because we’ve built a national apparatus costing hundreds of billions of dollars to keep that from happening. Along with the threat of getting mauled by the United States into the Stone Age.
The USS Arizona Memorial is truly awe-inspiring. You realize hundreds of young men died in a moment, during an attack that most of them were unaware of their adversary. Two hours after the initial attack, it was over. Over 2300 Americans were dead, with over a thousand wounded or injured. Make no mistake, it’s not only the USS Arizona that’s memorialized there. Nearly 500 sailors and Marines died on the USS Oklahoma that day as well, and 21 Navy ships were sunk at Pearl on December 7th. The initial attacks on Hawaii were actually against five airfields on Oahu. Hundreds of US Army Air Forces aircraft were destroyed on the ground, allowing the Empire of Japan’s forces to pretty much attack without opposition.
I will tell you this, I was amazed at the number of Japanese visiting the USS Arizona Memorial. I’m not sure why that is, and I’ll leave that as is. Of course, the USS Missouri is anchored next to the USS Arizona wreck. It doesn’t seem to be as attractive to tourists as the Arizona.
Attacking Pearl Harbor was a smashing tactical success for the Japanese, but it was truly a strategic failure. They were unable to eliminate America’s aircraft carriers, nor did they successfully bomb the POL (oil) facilities at Pearl. That not only allowed America to recover faster, it helped the United States defeat Japan at Midway in early-June 1942.