Reflections on the USS Arizona

I have been to Pearl Harbor once.

Coincidentally, it was ten years ago today – December 7, 2005.

That day, by virtue of being on the last boat out to the Arizona Memorial, I experienced something that most people don’t – the internment of a Pearl Harbor survivor’s ashes on the USS Arizona.

I saw the gathering of family, Honor Guard, and current military personnel for the ceremony.

While I wasn’t a part of the ceremony, I was certainly moved by it.

There were few words being spoken as people took their places at the Memorial as we were leaving (it was a private ceremony).

There didn’t need to be any words.

You felt the significance of what happened there in 1941, and was happening there that day.

The feelings were more than any words could say.

It still moves me today as I write this.

The Arizona was seeping fuel oil that day, and, to my knowledge, she still does.

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Perhaps it is her way of weeping for all who gave their lives that day.

Maybe she weeps as a symbol for all who have given their lives at war.

I don’t claim to have any answers about what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 or why.

Nor can I really grasp man’s inhumanity to man throughout history.

Or today.

All I can do is sit here and be moved by a ten year old image and wonder “why?”

It’s a very broad “why” that’s not limited to Pearl Harbor.  Pearl Harbor is just one part of that “why?”

I wonder why about a lot of events that have cost mothers their sons and daughters, and children their mothers and fathers.

I wonder how people can kill other people because they (fill in the blank).

I wonder, and I just don’t understand.

I probably never will understand.

Maybe it’s because I’m a photographer that I see and feel things in pictures, and believe that a picture can carry and convey a meaning – no words necessary.

I think that the USS Arizona weeps for us all.

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