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Helen MacInnes
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Laura Joh Rowland

Submerged Cultural Resources Study USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark

Submerged Cultural Resources Study USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark - Daniel Lenihan Ok, this is not a book that's going to appeal to everyone because it is a study. It's the report of the first dives on the USS ARIZONA and the USS UTAH since the salvage operations of WW II. It was partially inspired by people's question, "What's down there?" No one actually knew! Turns out, it was a good thing they checked--YIKES! The report was also inspired by a need to understand the condition of the wrecks, whether they could, or even should be preserved, and to determine if any dangers were present for visitors to the memorial. This report is the birthplace of current management and maintenance practices regarding the vessels submerged in Pearl Harbor, and it's this report that significantly contributed to our understanding of this monument.

This report was fascinating and extremely readable. The chapter studying the flora and fauna on the wrecks and their impact on them was pretty scientific, but all the rest was perfectly understandable to a layperson. The work that went into this report is, as its five star rating indicates, amazing. The photos and gorgeous drawings of the vessels were spectacular, and extraordinarily educational.

I've been to this memorial, and even though I was a child at the time, it had a profound impact on me. It's a hallowed place, it's eerie, it's moving, it's impactful. I remember visiting the memorial with my grandfather who served in WW II. He wasn't at Pearl Harbor, but he did serve in the Pacific Theater. I remember him standing at the window, looking down on the ship, and crying. I knew even more strongly at that point that this place has meaning. I am so glad that I read this report. It honored the memory of those who served and died, and it salvaged knowledge and understanding from the corrosive effects of salt water and the passage of time.

The only "downside" to this report is its age. It was written in 1989--24 years ago. Now I want to know what policies and practices this report birthed, and I want to know what the ships look like now.