By Alex Tolhurst | May 21, 2012
The USS Arizona Memorial will be celebrating it’s golden anniversary of remembering fallen heroes this Memorial Day weekend. Since it’s dedication on May 30, 1962 over 50 million visitors have stepped onto the solemn structure, and the monument has become one of Hawaii’s most recognizable and visited sites. After 50 years, and 100 million feet, the structure is in need of restoration work.
Special events for the anniversary are planned throughout the weekend. Events include a charity golf event on Kaneohe’s Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Friday, a 24-hour vigil guard in the memorial’s shrine room beginning Saturday, an anniversary ceremony on the USS Arizona Memorial on Sunday, and a special floral tribute on Monday. These events aim to raise awareness and funding for the memorial’s necessary repairs.
Historical Fundraising for USS Arizona Memorial
This is not the first time funds and public awareness have been raised for the USS Arizona. On December, 7 1958, NBC’s television show “This Is Your Life” hosted by Ralph Edwards raised $94,000 in a donation drive to help build the memorial we see today. And on March, 25 1961 while in Honolulu to film “Blue Hawaii,” Elvis Presley played a benefit concert at Pearl Harbor which raised another $64,000 for the memorial’s construction.
Renovations and repairs needed include replacing railings and entrance skylights, painting, and floor work. Scheduled to begin on June 18, the initial renovations are not expected to significantly affect visitors to the memorial. One of the larger aspects of the renovation is to replace the marble slabs of the shrine room inscribed with the names of the 1,177 servicemen entombed in the Arizona. The marble was most recently replaced in 1984, and has suffered damage and erosion from exposure to the elements since. About $200,000 of the $700,000 in funds have been raised so far, and officials are hoping for a substantial increase from this weekend’s events.
For details highlighting all of the anniversary’s special events, check out this recent blog post from PearlHarborOahu.com. Check out our free travel guide for information about all the attractions you can see at Pearl Harbor.
Thank you for reading and Aloha!