Sometimes, sorrow and reverence only whisper.
As the Navy shuttle pulled near the sunken USS Arizona battleship at Pearl Harbor, National Park Service rangers requested quiet on that May day of my visit.
This landmark of American tragedy and resilience marks its 75th milestone on Wednesday.
The USS Arizona is the centerpiece of Hawaii’s part of the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which has an encyclopedic story to tell: the world before Dec. 7, 1941, and the world after.
The monument brings to life the attack on Oahu through film, artifacts, eyewitness histories and the legendary ships.
Some of the fleet float tall in the water, including “Mighty Mo,” the battleship Missouri.Others seem poised to dive, such as the USS Bowfin submarine.
And one stands mute like the military grave it is. More than 900 are entombed in the USS Arizona.
The numbers tell the story, and they are staggering: More than 2,390 Americans, including 49 civilians, were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
For many, the keystone of the monument is the crumpled Arizona, 40 feet down just off Ford Island.
The attack began just after 7:45 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, a Japanese bomber dropped a 1,760-pound naval projectile on the Arizona’s forward deck.
The explosion ignited aviation fuel and powder magazines, instantly killing 1,177 sailors and Marines. Of the crew of 1,511, 334 survived.