It’s been closed for nearly a year and it was supposed to reopen next month — but the U-S-S Arizona Memorial will not open in March as planned — because of how bad damage is.
The U-S-S Arizona Memorial has been inaccessible to visitors for 10 months because of structural damage to the dock and visitor loading ramp, requiring repairs more extensive than initially believed.
Drawing attendance of well more than 1-million people each year, the historic memorial is the number-one visitor destination in Hawaii.
Johnathon Adkins, originally from Hawaii, is visiting with his wife and children from California. He spent eight years in the Navy as a dental technician and says he’s told his children, especially his military-minded son, all about Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial.
“And those are ships under here and I’m talking all about it and he’s ‘Oh, can we see it’ you know he asked if we can go see it, ‘can we see it,’ and it’s like, ‘I wish we can,’ but now we have to just show him pictures of it.”
During the memorial’s closure, nearby Restaurant 604 has remained busy with visitors who take in the other sites and exhibits at the World War Two Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Lunchtime is especially busy with military members, rail workers, local residents and the visitors.
Server Nathan Meyer feels badly for the visitors who will miss out on what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Well, think about it I mean, thousands of people who died here for our country. It’s important for people to see Pearl Harbor, especially those who never get a chance to come to Hawaii. Fifty, 60 years old, never had a chance to come Hawaii and they come to see Pearl Harbor.”
~ Nathan Meyer, Restaurant 604 server
Meyers says visitors regularly pay for servicemembers’ meals at the restaurant, having been moved by the experience at the historic sites.
As it has been during the memorial’s closure, the Valor in the Pacific National Monument will remain open, offering all available exhibits and tours to visitors and kama’aina.
Jacqueline Ashwell, superintendent of the monument, released a statement about the delay, saying: “I am frustrated, as all of us are. I can promise you that every person working on this project is working as hard as they can, and are dedicated to reopening the memorial to the public as soon as we can.”
No budget nor timetable was given for the repairs.