After being closed for 14 months, the USS Arizona Memorial reopened on Sunday—one month ahead of schedule.
The historical site closed for dock repairs in May 2018.
Officials say king tides dislodged the concrete block anchoring system which made the dock unstable and unsafe.
“They completely redesigned the system now to include additional anchoring which includes screws and adjustable elastic bands that now can adjust to higher tides and also sea-level rise so it will be much more adaptable for future use so we won’t have this issue again,” said Steve Mitez, Acting Super Attendant Pearl Harbor National Memorial.
The project cost $2.1 million.
About 400 people waited in line before the gates opened at 7 a.m. on Sunday.
Atlanta visitors Scott Moscow and his wife Anna were the first in line at 5:15 a.m.
“We wanted to see the Memorial before our flight at 4 p.m. back to Atlanta today,” Moscow said.
The couple had never been to Hawaii before and said they were thrilled to be able to see it before they went home.
Others woke up early because they wanted to be the first in line to pay their respects at the Memorial.
“I just lost my dad who was a veteran and I just wanted to come and pay some kind of respect in memory of my dad,” said Punaluu resident Dawn Carmello.
“We’re just overjoyed to welcome the American public back and have them be able to offer their condolences to the fallen heroes here at the USS Arizona Memorial,” Mitez said.
The first boat took off at 7:55 a.m. Sunday signifying the same time the attack on Pearl Harbor began on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941.
“We’re so thrilled that we had the opportunity to be one of the first back on the memorial since it’s been closed for 15 months and what an incredible honor to be on the first boat out this morning and to be on there on a Sunday morning at the time the attack happened was an incredibly moving experience,” said Pittsburgh resident Julie Hera- Destefano, who was on the first boat.
The park will be open on Labor Day. Boats go to and from the Memorial between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. seven days a week.