5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pearl Harbor

Pearl HarborVisiting Hawaii is a great way to spend a family vacation. No matter who you travel with and what your motives—sun, golf, food, eco adventures—you’re sure to have a good time. Hawaii has a lot to offer visitors and this state’s economy relies heavily on tourism. The result: Hawaii knows how to treat vacationers!

If you’re planning your family vacation to Hawaii, you should consider seeing the Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial. This memorial is moving and beautiful too. To see the site of the USS Arizona’s sinking in person is incredible and an important part of this country’s history. But there might be a few things you didn’t know about Pearl Harbor and its memorial. Read on for five Pearl Harbor facts that may be new to you!

  1. Did you know that veterans who survived the attack can choose to be laid to rest with their shipmates? That’s right, roughly 30 men have chosen this resting place since the attack. The sailor is cremated and a diver delivers the ashes to the bottom of the ocean where the wreckage of the USS Arizona is. Only about a dozen survivors remain today.
  2. The USS Arizona is still leaking fuel—even today! When the ship was attacked, it had a nearly full load of fuel, which was 1.5 million gallons. While some of that fuel ignited in explosions and the fires that sunk the ship, some of it still leaks from the wreckage. Up to 9 quarts of fuel leak into the harbor each day, making the ship appear as if it were bleeding. Oceanographers are studying the effects on the fuel leaking into the ocean, but have yet to come to a conclusion.
  3. The USS Arizona’s entire band was killed during the attack. Almost half the casualties at Pearl Harbor were men on the USS Arizona—1,177 in total. All 21 members of the ship’s band, US Navy Band Unit 22 were killed. Most of the band was on deck preparing to play for the daily flag raising when the attack began. The NBU 22 is the only military band in history where every member was killed in action.
  4. Elvis helped pay for the memorial—well, kind of. Elvis had a special place in his heart for Hawaii as a lot of his movies took place there. In 1958, President Eisenhower signed legislation to create a national memorial at the site of the USS Arizona’s sinking. Funds were from both public money and private donations. In 1961, Elvis Presley held a benefit concert that raised more than $50,000. That number was more than 10% of what the memorial cost and surely helped get the memorial we visit today up and built.
During the most recent government shutdown, service men and women still took care of the memorial. Since it’s a government site, the workers were laid off during the government shutdown. But service men and women stationed at Pearl Harbor volunteered to maintain the memorial for the weeks the government was shut down.

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