HONOLULU – A visitor from Oklahoma stood in front of the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, staring at the stone monument bearing the thousands of names of those killed in the Imperial Japanese Navy’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
The man said he teared up after seeing the names of the victims on the wall. About 2,400 Americans, including 1,177 crew members of the USS Arizona, died in the attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
More than 75 years later, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to visit the memorial along with departing U.S. President Barack Obama next week. The move comes after Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the memorial for victims of the atomic bombing in the city of Hiroshima in May.
Abe said he was making the visit to Hawaii “to pay tribute” to military personnel from both sides of the Pacific who died in the war.
The facility lies in the emerald green waters of Pearl Harbor just above the sunken USS Arizona. Visitors can see the vague shape of the ship on the bottom of the harbor.
The oil that still leaks from it is called “the tears of the Arizona,” and visitors from around the globe still offer their prayers there.
At the visitor’s center, a paper crane created by Sadako Sasaki, who died at age 12 in 1955, 10 years after being exposed to radiation from the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, is also displayed to offer another story of the war.
A local man, born to a Japanese mother and an American father, said Japanese visitors should not feel guilty about going to the USS Arizona Memorial.
“But I don’t want people to forget the history of war,” he said.