December 7, 1941 – 80 Years and We Still Remember

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

It has been 80 years, and though I wasn’t yet born when the Japanese launched their opening salvo against the United States that brought us into the war in the Pacific, I still think of the sacrifices made by those fighting men and their families as we joined World War II.

I would like to say that we visited the USS Arizona Memorial recently to capture some images as a reminder of the lives lost those 80 years ago. To honor the memory, I’ve reworked the images I captured a few years ago using processing software that I didn’t have available when these jpeg images were first published.

Using Lightroom Classic and Luminar AI, I’ve reprocessed the photos into 2K HD and posted them on my Flickr site. I found some interesting facts about the memorial on the Internet that I will also share. The memorial, designed by the US Navy was designed to accommodate 200 people, and it’s accessed by boat as the resting place of those 900+ sailors sits in 36 feet (11 m) of water where she sank on that Sunday morning.

USS Arizona-5

If you look carefully at this image, you’ll see a dark stripe in the water in front of the superstructure that is above water level. It’s oil that is still leaking from the ship, over 2 quarts a day. Both the Navy and the National Park Service have explored ways to reduce the leakage without dishonoring the resting place of the souls on board. The hull is continually monitored with a concern that the leaks might someday increase to an unacceptable level.

USS Arizona-8

The ship sustained severe damage when an armor-piercing projectile from a Japanese plane ignited one of the powder magazines on the ship. The tons of explosives and weapons exploded immediately killing virtually everyone inside the ship and most of the people above deck.

On display is one of the ship’s anchors. The USS Arizona was commissioned in 1916 and was one of the ships that escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference. After a short stint in Turkey in 1919, she was repositioned to the Pacific Fleet and remained there until December 7, 1941.

USS Arizona-4

Unlike most of the other ships which were salvaged and rebuilt, the violence of the magazine explosion rendered the Arizona unrepairable. It became the final resting place for the 1,177 men who died on that fateful morning. Guns and other salvageable superstructure were removed and reused in rebuilding other ships, and the memorial built and dedicated in 1962 straddles the ship’s remains.

USS Arizona-1

Survivors of the blast were ultimately allowed to rejoin their fellow sailors on board the ship in final rest on the USS Arizona and many veterans chose that option. Those who once served on the ship, but were assigned elsewhere at the time of the bombing, were allowed to have their ashes scattered in the water above the ship.

USS Arizona-3

A complete history of the USS Arizona is available on Wikipedia here. Also, on the PearlHarbor.Org website here, you will find some other interesting facts about the ship and those who served on her.

You can click on any of the images above to get a closer look in 2K HD on my Flickr site. From there you can scroll through the images, or you can visit the album here and select the images you’d like to view. You will find a couple of extra images from our visit that day posted there as well.

John Steiner


  1. A fitting Memorial and a fitting tribute in your blog to those who died on that terrible day. But days like that continue unfortunately, and you could erect a memorial and write a tribute every day. Humanity doesn’t seem to have learned anything from the past.

  2. It’s good to remember also that less than 24 hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese also attacked the Philippines. I still have an unaccounted for great-uncle who died later as a POW at a Japanese internment camp there after surviving the Bataan Death March.

    • Thank you. So many of my original photos were reprocessed into a smaller format that I liked at the time.
      The new processing tools give those original images a new look. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. I was stationed at Pearl Harbor for 3 yrs. aboard the USS Carpenter DD-825. There are lots of things that people don’t see, but I did.

  4. Stunning images to highlight a poignant reminder of the day the US entered WWII, John. You captured the essence of the memorial and the solemnity of the moments to honor this day in history. I love that last image of the flag as you look up from the memorial. We visited the Arizona in January 2006. I had no idea it is considered a national park and everything is free (or donation). The theater presentation is informative, but then to go out on the boat and stand over the site is awe-inspiring and emotional. I also saw the oil still bubbling up as that grim reminder of the terror the crew must have felt before it was all over. Thank you for sharing this today and taking the time to remaster your images.

  5. Fascinating post, John. Wonderful details. I had no idea that survivors could be laid to rest on the same ships that sank on that day. It’s amazing that oil is still leaking into the bay after all these years.

  6. The whole bay still carries the emotion around this cruel moment. When I visited the site on my last day in Hawaii, the shuttles had unfortunately stopped, but even from the shore I could feel the emotion.

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