More than a year after being closed to the public for repairs, the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor reopens on Sunday, September 1. Its closure was a significant blow to the National Parks Service, which operates the memorial, and to the many Oahu visitors who were unable to experience the solemn reverence of it.
An average of 4000 visited each day while it was open. Those numbers are expected to resume immediately. “I think it’s terrific,” says a Honolulu tugboat captain of the reopening. “I think it should be required viewing for every visitor on Oahu!”
The closure was necessary due to problems with the mooring system at the memorial. Officials believe that anchoring mechanisms were affected by unusually high “king tides” in 2017. Concrete pylons that anchored chains to the boarding dock had sunken into the soft, muddy floor of the harbor. The memorial was ultimately closed in May of 2018.
The repairs and improvements cost $2.1 million. The improvements include synthetic rope connections instead of iron chains. Visitors will once again be able to access the memorial by ferry from the Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial and take in the solemn atmosphere.
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During the closure of the memorial itself the National Parks Service offered boat tours of “Battleship Row”. The museum on land remained open, but visitor numbers to Pearl Harbor fell off. Thanks to two new apps that were released in September 2018, the official National Park Visitor Guide is available for free and a virtual reality tour of that includes a tour of the Arizona’s deck before the 1941 attack, key stages of the attack, and a tour of areas of the monument that are restricted from public access.
At the time of the apps’ release, the CEO of Pacific Historic Parks said “The stories of the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor are more accessible than ever, providing everyone the opportunity to honor the past and to inspire a better future.” Pacific Historic Parks worked with the National Park Service to develop the apps.
The new technology not provided Oahu visitors a USS Arizona Memorial experience during the closure, it continues to bring the history of valor, bravery, and drama of the memorial to people around the world who’ve yet to make it to Hawaii.
The closure of the USS Arizona Memorial was a disappointment to many of the million-plus visitors Oahu has welcomed since. The reopening of the memorial is wonderful news for visitors yet to arrive.
Here at Hawaii Aloha Travel, our local experts can help you plan and deliver an unforgettable experience at one of Hawaii’s most popular and historic destinations.
Posted by: Jamie Winpenny on Sep 24, 2019