The only land-based memorial at Pearl Harbor, the USS Oklahoma Memorial honors the more than 400 servicemen who lost their lives aboard the ship during the flurry of attacks on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Second only in casualties to the USS Arizona on that fateful day, the Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island commemorates each life lost with a tall white marble column, symbolizing a crisp white Navy uniform. Taken together, the low black granite walls etched with stories and towering clean rows of columns symbolize the ship and the crew within standing tall forever.
The memorial’s location, on the still-active military base at Ford Island, is also significant. The USS Oklahoma’s berth was here, just offshore. When the ship was torpedoed, several crew were able to escape by swimming and crawling on the stretch of land the memorial now occupies.
A relatively new Pearl Harbor attraction, the USS Oklahoma Memorial was designated on Dec. 7, 2007.
The Memorial is run by the National Park Service as part of the Valor in the Pacific National Monument. However, it is located across a channel from the park’s popular USS Arizona Memorial and fronting the Battleship Missouri Memorial on Ford Island. Because of its location, and the need to board designated vehicles with access to the base, visits to the free USS Oklahoma Memorial are often combined with the separately ticketed Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum (ticket packages available). A park shuttle departs the Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center every 15 minutes from 8 a.m til 5 p.m.
Insider Tip: Only one camera and water bottle per visitor are allowed on the military base. It’s best to leave purses and backpacks at home, but if you must bring them a the USS Bowfin Submarine (one of the shuttle stops before the Ford Island entrance) has storage facilities charging $3 per bag.