Visitors are needed at USS Arizona to keep it afloat after COVID-19 shutdown

Julia LeDoux
July 13, 2020 - 9:16 am
Arizona

DVIDS

The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii has reopened after its pandemic closure -- and it urgently needs visitors.

The National Park Service last week announced that some boat tours to the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor were expected to resume, after being shut down for months because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The pandemic is still keeping tourists out of Hawaii and there aren’t enough local visitors to support the nonprofit museum, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Pearl Harbor tours will consist of a 45-minute program that includes a ride aboard a U.S. Navy vessel to the site where the USS Arizona sank, according to the park service. The memorial sits above the sunken ship in the harbor.

Subject to change, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial increased access to the visitor center as well as the USS Arizona memorial boat tours. 

Face coverings at the visitor center are "optional but encouraged," according to the park service, though visitors onboard any U.S. Navy vessels or visiting Ford Island are required to wear them. 

Among the visitors on Friday was Blake Glasser, 41, who brought her son, Fletcher, 5, to the memorial Friday morning on what was the Honolulu resident's first trip out to the attraction.

"I've always wanted to, but of course, the crowds. This place is notoriously packed to the gills," Glasser told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, calling their visit powerful.

Without visitors, the World War II Memorial is being overrun by weeds

"You feel it. It's definitely sacred, " she said.

Coronavirus opening delay isn’t slowing down the Army Museum  

The newspaper noted that nearby museums rely on the iconic structure's gravity for attendance, but an ongoing 14-day quarantine for arrivals decimated tourism and income for the Pearl Harbor nonprofit museums.

A total of 1,177 men were killed on the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941. Normal July visitation is 5,000 to 6,000 people each day.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.

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