The USS Arizona Mall Memorial is located on the mall of the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona just outside the Student Union. The purpose of the memorial is to serve honor and preserve the memory of the 1,177 marines and sailors who lost their lives on December 7, 1941 during the attack on Pear Harbor. Construction began in October of 2016, and was eventually completed in January of 2017. The $175,000 projected was funded by private donors and now serves as memorial an place for student engagement.
The memorial is a 597-foot long, 97-foot wide outline of the USS Arizona ship that was attacked at Pearl harbor. The dark red "brick looking" material outlining the UA mall creating the outline of the ship's deck; stays with the integrity of the University's brick structures. The structure of the memorial consists of 1,177 bronze medallions that are inscribed with the name, rank, and home state of the soldier who lost their life on December 7, 1941. Arizona was home to eight of these soldiers. There is a plaque located by the flagpole explaining the significance of the memorial and the flag that was raised by UA Naval Reserve officers was flown prior at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.
The memorial's position aligns with the oldest building on the university's campus, Old Main. Old Main served as base for the Naval Training School following the years after the pearl harbor attack. The flagpole of the memorial is directly in line with the bell tower in the Student Union, which is home to one of the bells that was salvaged after the bombing of the ship. The location of the flagpole would have been be on the bridge of the USS Arizona, where many officers were killed. (1)
History Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor is a US naval base that is located near Honolulu, Hawaii. Just before 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, 350 Japanese fighter planes launched a surprise attack that killed over 2,400 American dead and left 1000 wounded. Some of the causalities of this attack were civilians. This attack destroyed almost 20 American naval ships, 8 of which were battleships and over 200 planes. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused President Franklin D. Roosevelt to ask Congress to declare war on Japan. The attack on Pearl Harbor would be the impetus to the United States officially joining World War II. All but the USS Arizona and the USS Utah were eventually repaired. (2)
Importance to the Tucson Community
At the dedication in December 2016 which also served as the 75th anniversary of the attack , U.S. Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona stated, "you think of those who served and perished, and the 335 who survived — it was a typical day, if you think about it … and they didn’t know the world was about to change. These are just some of the stories of how they got up that morning — like we got up this morning. We are to continue with their legacy and honor them, and there is no more fitting a way to do that than this memorial at the University of Arizona. So as we are going to class or work or running down the Mall, we may stop and look at the names and remember their service, sacrifice and courage. May we continue with their legacy. Freedom is only one generation away from being lost." (1) At the opening ceremony, eight Arizonian service men who lost their lives were honored in addition to the 1,169 sailors and the marines that were killed upon the U.S.S. Arizona. The memorial is presented to honor those who lost their lives, survivors, and families affected by the attack. The memorial has brought back interest in the U.S.S. Arizona in the community and has allowed for students to understand the atrocity of the event.
Where to Park When Visiting the Memorial
The closest parking garage to the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial is the Second Street Garage, located on the southeast corner of North Mountain Avenue and Easy Second Street. Parking costs $2/hour with a maximum payment of $10/day or if you lost your ticket. To park in the garage without a parking pass, press the button at the gate to receive a ticket and lift the gate allowing entrance into the garage-- make sure to take this ticket with you as you will have to pay for it before returning to your car. Parking is free on weekends. The U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial is a short walk from the Second Street Garage. (4)
The USS Arizona Mall Memorial is wheelchair accessible and the parking garages have elevators to help you reach the ground level. The memorial itself is on flat ground that is paved in the middle of the mall, however, there is grass surrounding much of the outline so navigation may be difficult. The medallions can be easily seen if one is in a wheelchair and are located on pavement, so they are easily accessible. (4)
(1) Heffernan, Marissa. “USS Arizona Mall Memorial Opens.” The Daily Wildcat, 5 Dec. 2016, www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2016/12/uss-arizona-mall-memorial-opens.
(2) “Pearl Harbor bombed.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pearl-harbor-bombed.
(3) “USS Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.” USS Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona, 2016, www.ussarizonamallmemorial.org.
(4) “5 Things to Know Before Visiting Tucson's USS Arizona Mall Memorial.” Tucson.com, 13 Dec. 2016, tucson.com/news/local/things-to-know-before-visiting-tucson-s-uss-arizona-mall/collection_d540b712-c0c2-11e6-bf03-83d7198d17fa.html#1.