National Geographic : 1991 Dec
LLMOST 50 YEARS HAVE PASSED since the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. The sweet, warm dawn spreads across the sea and grazes the white stone shrine athwart the sunken Arizona. On a marble wall the 1,177 names begin to emerge from the darkness. Bates, Crowley, Kidd, Lake, Moore, Van Valkenburgh. .. . The dead men of the Arizona-the captain and the seamen, the admiral and the ship's band, the dozens of brothers and the father who died with his son. They are entombed here, the men who went down with their ship, many not realizing in the last moments of their lives that their coun try would soon be at war with Japan. Now it is 7:55, and, as they do each year on December 7, boats begin to come from shore, bearing flowers to cast upon the sea. In the ceremonies at the Arizona Memorial, people once more will remember Pearl Harbor. Among them will be men and women who were here, in the flames and screams. Among them too will be the kin who carry the memories handed down by those who lived through that day and died on another day of war or peace. This is a place that clutches the sights and sounds of a single morning, December 7, 1941, a date President Franklin D. Roosevelt said "will live in infamy." I had gone to the Arizona Memorial on a pilgrimage of memory to mark the anniversary of the Japanese attack. My travels took me to Japan, where I talked to the officer who conceived of the to ra surprise attack signal, and to lyozo Fujita, one of the few surviving Japanese pilots. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, I met many of the 13,000 members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association at their annual reunion. I also found weavers of memory who bring to gether American and Japanese survivors. At one such gathering was Kazuo Sakamaki, the captain of a midget submarine that failed to torpedo the battleship Pennsylva nia. I saw Sakamaki touch the submarine for the first time since he abandoned it on a reef off Bellows Field nearly half a century Ghostly war grave, the Arizona lies in 40 feet ofwater, bridged by a memorial to the 1,177 men who died when the great battleship exploded. A bomb ignited its forward magazines, collapsing the bow section, at far left. Now 1.5 million visitors, many of them Jap anese, pay their respects each year. National Park Service divers (above) survey 14-inch guns thatfell silent that December morning.