USS Arizona Memorial
Creating the Memorial
The OriginsAfter the end of World War II, many individuals recognized the need for a memorial to the dead of December 7th, 1941. Navy personnel sought a tribute to the sailors who died at Pearl Harbor, others sought to commemorate the Japanese attack itself.
The public law stipulated that the monument would be built without federal funding. The Pacific War Memorial Commission was tasked with raising the $500,000 required it build the structure. Several organizations and individuals helped in the effort to raise the required amount. In 1958, the Territory of Hawaii contributed the initial $50,000. On December 3rd, 1958 the popular television series, “This is Your Life” hosted by Ralph Edwards featured Samuel Fuqua, Medal of Honor recipient and the senior surviving officer from the USS Arizona. This broadcast kicked off the public fundraising campaign. Over $95,000 was raised for the new permanent structure. Three years later, singing idol Elvis Presley hosted a benefit concert on March 25, 1961 at Pearl Harbor’s Bloch Arena, raising over $64,000. The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) partnered with the Revell Model Company to sell plastic models of the battleship USS Arizona. Enclosed inside the kit was donation information on the instruction sheet. This led to a contribution of over $40,000. Finally, on September 6th, 1961, freshman Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye secured federal funding, which contribute the final $150,000 to complete the construction. In the end, public money was required to meet the goal of the PWMC. The legislation stated that the Memorial was “to be maintained in honor and commemoration of the members of the Armed Forces of the United States who gave their lives to their country during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.”
The people coming to Shanksville have changed the temporary memorial; visitors have adopted the custom of leaving things behind. The fence is covered with tiny tributes, everything from firemen's helmets to baseball caps to crucifixes to prayer cards. Near ground-level it is not uncommon to see collections of Matchbox cars and other toys left by children. There is a 15-foot cross by the flagpoles now, an array of benches bearing the names of the dead, and a set of 40 small wooden "Freedom Angels." The county administers the temporary memorial, removing and storing mementos when they become weather-beaten and keeping a catalogue of every item that has been left behind.
Let the people of Shanksville manage the 93 memorial, and keep the feds out of it. Who wants the Crecsent of Embrace on this site? The design "winner" is crap. It would have to IMPROVE to become crap.
And WHERE is there a patron celebrity for this cause? When Elvis died, any sense of decency died with him. Who knew his politics? The country called him and he went, without a whimper, even if it meant the loss of his career (which never happened).
We need a patron for this memorial.
And who knew that Elvis contributed so much to the Arizona Memorial?
Thank you, Elvis.