Second World War: Touring the USS Arizona

California remembers touring the USS Arizona and Old Ironsides before the Second World War

| Good Old Days

In the fall of the year, on display in the harbor area of Los Angeles, California, was the latest built Navy ship, the USS Arizona.

Also on display was Old lronsides, a wooden, handcrafted battleship built during the early settling of America. The public was allowed on both ships.

The crowd was large, and the line moved slow, but when on board Old lronsides you could rub your hand on the smooth wood and wonder how, with the limited tools of early America, such a sturdy, beautiful ship could be built.

Next we toured the Arizona, a huge, splendid ship. A sailor in an immaculate white uniform escorted us in groups over the ship, explaining the equipment and how it worked. After touring the upper deck we were directed to an opening in the deck with a ladder leading to the lower deck. The young sailor faced the opening and walked down the ladder quickly, but one at a time, the group of us went down the ladder backward the way we would at home.

The sailor smiled and waited patiently for us. On completing the tour we returned home with the knowledge of the supreme strength of our defense forces.

Then on December 7, 1941, the radio and newspapers gave us the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Arizona was sunk. When we recall our tour, we wonder if our tour guide was one of the casualties.

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