Valor in the Pacific

Valor in the Pacific

The “Valor in the Pacific” is a monument that actually stands over the USS Arizona which was sunk by the Japanese during Pearl Harbor December 7th 1941. The Valor in the Pacific is a 184 foot long memorial structure that has three main sections. The structures main purpose is to host tourists, close to 2 million a year, and hold ceremonies. The architect stated that the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends to express initial defeat and ultimate victory. It is a unique monument because it stands over the object it is commemorating. I believe an alternative meaning could be reflective thought and passing of generations. This could be because as a person is looking into the water to visualize the ship they subsequently also see a reflection of themselves. This induces deep thought of past generations and the passing of culture and knowledge to the upcoming generations. Some tourists say if they stare in the ocean for a long period of time they can actually see the souls of the soldiers within the ripples of the water. Whether they are being fictitious or not there is definitely a uniqueness of being able to visualize the past within the present.



  1. I agree with Rob’s idea of reflection. As you look down and see yourself looking back, it is almost like you are looking at yourself on the ship. You are placing yourself in that moment in history, which is an interesting perspective to look at. Another meaning that can be conveyed from this image is the idea of rebuilding and growth. As a nation, that ship sinking is not the best or proudest moment. However, the ship was not removed like it was an embarrassing moment. It was left right where it was, and another piece of architecture was built on top of it. Something else was built on top, so people could look down and see what had happened. People are literally standing on top of an historic moment that is underwater. As a nation, we were able to accept what happened to us that day, but instead of forgetting about it, we were able to move past it, rebuilt a site of remembrance, and grow as a nation so something like this would not happen again. The growth of the memorial vertically, represents the growth of a nation that has happened since Pearl Harbor. Another idea is that the building is above the water. As we were able to grow as a nation, we were able to rise above the tides of the water, which represents the tough times in World War II.

  2. I agree with both of these alternate meanings for this memorial. Another meaning could be that we are heading into a new direction which can be seen as the memorial is not placed left to right, right on top of the ship but rather top to bottom. This may show that we are not forgetting what happened that day, as the middle of the memorial and ship meet, but we are moving in a new direction, as the top and bottom are directly above water, while taking a piece of the past with us. Also, it is clear that you have to take a boat out to this memorial, as seen at the edge of the memorial closest to us and to the right. This may purpose the idea that the tourists and viewers may be representing the people that tried to save a piece of the ship or people that may have been stranded but couldn’t do anything but look down at what had happened by the time they got there. As the tourists are taking the boat over to the memorial, some may be feel anxious and nervous as they may think of themselves as people who were going to try to rescue those at that ship, which promotes more of an emotional meaning. At the time they reach the memorial, they too can see the ship below, with nothing they can do about it but just look on and remember.

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