On Saturday, February 15, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members were invited to have a first look at the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens before the official opening on February 22. SRPMIC members had the opportunity to view the USS Arizona boathouse relic, which went down with the ship in 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and was recently salvaged to be displayed in the memorial.
Tours were offered from 9 to 11 a.m. SRPMIC members were treated to complimentary breakfast and lunch at the Two Waters employee parking lot. From there, guests were transported by shuttle to the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens, located between the Great Wolf Lodge and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
The guided tours were led by SRPMIC Veterans Representatives Amanda White and Troy Truax Jr., along with a number of Administration staff members. Guest were able to view the boathouse relic and view replica prints of the ship’s blueprints. They also walked through the gardens, where more than 1,500 columns illuminate at night to represent the crew members who served on the Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack. The gardens also have bench seating with engraved quotations.
As guests walked through the gardens and reflected, many of them agreed that this memorial garden is a great way to share with young people the story of what happened in 1941 at Pearl Harbor.
“We have history in our backyard,”said SRPMIC member Taya Johnson
“We have history in our backyard,” said SRPMIC member Taya Johnson as she and her father walked through the garden.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched 353 aircraft to attack the Pearl Harbor naval base. The attack killed 2,403 American servicemen, wounded 1,178 and sank four U.S. Navy battleships: the California, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona. The Pearl Harbor attack launched the United States into World War II.
“I think it’s great, that the relic is here, because it’s from the ship. I went to the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, back around 2003, and this is part of that memorial and it’s great that we have it here. The flag that once flew over the USS Arizona Memorial is here in the Community,” said SRPMIC member and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Danny Harvier about having this piece of history in the Community.
SRPMIC members who took part in the tours received two commemorative gifts, a water bottle and tote backpack and free tickets to the spring training opening game at Salt River Fields.