The USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and marines killed on the USS Arizona (BB-39) during the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 by Japanese imperial forces and commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oahu was the action that led to the United States' direct involvement in World War II.
The memorial, built in 1962, is visited by more than one million people annually. Accessible only by boat, it straddles the sunken hull of the battleship without touching it. Historical information about the attack, shuttle boats to and from the memorial, and general visitor services are available at the associated USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, which opened in 1980 and is operated by the National Park Service. The sunken remains of the battleship were declared a National Historic Landmark on 5 May 1989.
USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship built for and by the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Named in honor of the 48th state's recent admission into the union, the ship was the second and last of the Pennsylvania-class of "super-dreadnought" battleships. Although commissioned in 1916, the ship remained stateside during World War I. Shortly after the end of the war, Arizona was one of a number of American ships that briefly escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference.
Aside from a comprehensive modernization in 1929-31, Arizona was regularly used for training exercises between the wars, including the annual Fleet Problems (training exercises). When an earthquake struck Long Beach, California, in 1933, Arizona's crew provided aid to the survivors. Two years later, the ship was featured in a Jimmy Cagney film, Here Comes the Navy, about the romantic troubles of a sailor. In April 1940, she and the rest of the Pacific Fleet were transferred from California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a deterrent to Japanese imperialism.
During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Arizona was bombed. She exploded and sank, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen. Unlike many of the other ships sunk or damaged that day, Arizona could not be fully salvaged, though the Navy removed parts of the ship for reuse. The wreck still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated on 30 May 1962 to all those who died during the attack, straddles the ship's hull.
After the attack, several sailors received medals for their conduct and actions under fire. Lieutenant Commander Samuel G. Fuqua, the ship's damage control officer, earned the Medal of Honor for his cool-headedness while quelling fires and getting survivors off the ship. Posthumous awards of the Medal of Honor also went to Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, the first flag officer killed in the Pacific war, and to Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh, who reached the bridge and was attempting to defend his ship when the bomb that hit the ammunition magazines destroyed her. The ship herself was awarded one battle star for her service in World War II.