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In March 1950, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, the Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, originated the practice of displaying the National Ensign over the sunken remains of USS Arizona. The ship's midships structure, which remained above water level, came to be used as a platform for memorial services, and she was the object of passing honors rendered as Navy ships passed by.


During the later 1950s, efforts began to erect a suitable memorial over her hulk to commemorate the sacrifices of her more than 1100 dead crewmen, the other U.S. Servicemen killed in the Pearl Harbor attack and the personnel lost in the Pacific Theatre during the Second World War. Some of the Arizona's remaining midships superstructure was removed, and pilings were driven beyond the sides of her hull to support the Memorial, which spans but does not touch the sunken ship.


Dedicated in May 1962, the white open-air shrine contains the names of all the men lost with Arizona and has sufficient space for 250 people to attend services within it. One of Hawaii's most-visited historic sites, it is reached by boat from the USS Arizona Memorial exhibit area on the opposite side of the Pearl Harbor channel.