First Take

Yuma Sun - - NEWS - By Randy Hoeft, photo edi­tor

My dad got to see the U.S.S. Ari­zona Me­mo­rial at Pearl Har­bor.

The me­mo­rial is now closed be­cause of prob­lems with the struc­ture. Nobody is sure when it will re­open.

A U.S. Army vet­eran of World War II, my dad vis­ited the me­mo­rial in 1997. His re­ac­tion spoke vol­umes.

In the Visi­tors Cen­ter you watch the doc­u­men­tary film on the bomb­ing of Pearl Har­bor on Dec. 7, 1941, then board a ferry to the me­mo­rial. There, among other things, is the shrine room, dis­play­ing the names of the 1,177 crewmem­bers who died on­board, in­clud­ing the 948 still en­tombed in the sunken bat­tle­ship.

My dad, some­what emotional while watch­ing the doc­u­men­tary, wept openly when we were aboard the me­mo­rial.

I was in awe my­self, but my dad saw it from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, hav­ing gone to war af­ter the at­tack.

I hugged him and told him ev­ery­thing was OK. He said yes, it was, be­cause the crewmem­bers be­low us, who were about the same age as he at the time, had al­ready seen to it.

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