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Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona Memorial will reopen in March

Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona Memorial will reopen in March
The USS Arizona Memorial will reopen to visitors in March. It is part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument in Hawaii. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The USS Arizona Memorial, closed since May because of damage to a loading ramp, is expected to reopen in March.

The Arizona is part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which also has sites in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and California’s Tule Lake Unit.

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The battleship sank in 40 feet of water during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on the naval base, killing more than 1,170 crewmen in the bombing and subsequent explosions. More than 330 survived.

Despite efforts to recover the bodies, more than 900 remained trapped in the ship. Work on the USS Arizona Memorial began in 1960 and was completed in May 1962.

Until the crack was discovered, visitors were ferried to the memorial and could disembark on the structure that rests atop the ship. Oil still leaks from the sunken ship, bubbling to the surface.

During the closure, the Park Service is taking visitors on a harbor tour of what is called Battleship Row.

The repair timeline means the memorial will not be open on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

“Not being able to welcome survivors and their families on the USS Arizona Memorial this coming December 7th is heartbreaking,” Jacqueline Ashwell, superintendent of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, said in a Park Service statement. “After exploring multiple options, we are working with our friends in the U.S. Navy to hold an intimate ceremony aboard a vessel adjacent to the USS Arizona.”

The Arizona is but one of the historic sites at Pearl Harbor, which includes the USS Missouri, site of the Japanese surrender on Sept. 2, 1945; the USS Bowfin submarine, which went into service on Dec. 7, 1942, a year after the attack; and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, which displays numerous aircraft, including a Japanese Zero and a Curtiss Warhawk Flying Tiger fighter.

Seeing the Arizona memorial, which includes a tour of the visitor center, is free but requires a ticket, which can be reserved at lat.ms/arizonatickets. The other attractions, which are open, charge admission; for information on Passport to Pearl Harbor package prices: lat.ms/passporttopearlharbor.

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