Photographing the Pearl Harbor National Memorial

December 7, 1941 – December 7, 2021

Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. This year we mark the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Years ago I had a chance to visit the Hawaii islands. While in Honolulu, I decided to take the bus to Pearl City, to visit the memorial.

As I got off the bus, the first thing that I noticed was the giant USS Arizona anchor, a memorial in itself.

I followed other visitors to the Visitor’s Center, from where we embarked on a short boat ride to the memorial(s)–the Mighty MO (now a museum) and the Arizona Memorial.

The Arizona Memorial. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

The memorial, itself, is pretty small, yet there’s an airy feeling about it. There’s also a surreal being there, in that place, surrounded by all that sad history, as well as by the breathtaking Hawaii nature.

The names of those who perished on that day of infamy, December 7, 1941, are inscribed on a wall of the memorial. So many names….

The names of those who perished in the Pearl Harbor attack, on December 7, 1941, were inscribed on the walls of the Arizona Memorial. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Looking around some more, I wondered about the USS Arizona, itself…only to discover its remains underneath the water surface, like a ghost of those waters and that harbor.

Spending time at the memorial offers a chance to learn about and from history, and also to reconnect with one’s self. And I did just that.

Also, I spent almost four hours strolling around the Mighty MO, now a museum.

The Arizona Memorial and Pearl City are seen from the Mighty MO deck. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
The view from here, the Mighty MO. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. B&W photography by Alina Oswald.

Nearby, there’s the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum and the control tower, now a historical landmark.

In many ways, a visit to Pearl Harbor completes the Hawaii experience.

Oftentimes, the words “Happy Hawaii” come to mind when we think of the Aloha Islands, but not necessarily after visiting Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. Happy Hawaii…but not on December 7.

“Leaving Arizona” – The Arizona Memorial. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
The Mighty MO and Arizona Memorial on a clear, sunny day. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

For more images of Pearl Harbor, check out my #tbt post, Photographic Perspectives.

Inside Arizona Memorial. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. © Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald


    1. Thank you for your note! So true. Oftentimes, when we think of Hawaii, we think of “happy Hawaii” and beaches and sunny days, etc. But there’s more to the story. And Pearl Harbor is part of it, too. I hope I can visit again, one day. Thanks again for your note. Appreciate it!


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