I was created in March 1914 an auspicious but tragic year and fitting considering my life path.
The war they would call the ‘Great war ‘was to start in Europe and darkness thundered across the continent bringing shadows whispering of the
paroxysms of pain, blood and grief soon to infect country after country, as a generation unknowingly was readied to be systematically destroyed.
Soon, mothers too broken to cry, dry eyed and hollow cheeked, would sob silently for their sons. Wives will wait, anxious for news of their husbands,
as they try to clasp the half-forgotten memories of lost embraces to their breast, yearning once again for the kisses that were all too brief.
Fathers too old to fight would feel the fleeting ghosts of a world soon to pass, as a chill caused them to shudder, their hearts would slowly
Alone, children will cry into pillows at night, weeping for fathers who were never to return.
Nations who were soon to be too stunned and numb to shed tears were destined to mourn in perpetuity. They were to grieve for what was about to pass
and for what would never pass.
The losses would reverberate far into the future and haunt generations yet to be born. This war would shape my life that had not yet begun.
In June 1915 I was born amidst much cheer, champagne and celebration, 75,000 people watched, or so I was told. As I glided down the slipway I hit the
water stern first, it slid easily off my steel sides as I surged forward, turning I pushed a white froth of water off my bow, cutting through the
spray with a splash of silvery grey.
The wetness drenched my hull and the slate fountain jet of the East River trapped the sunlight and radiated rainbows in an arc of translucent mist
that made those watching gasp in awe and delight.
It was then that I took a long deep breathe, a first breathe.
Shocked into being with a splatter of startled surprise I was overwhelmed with love and innocence, but like any young child I was in awe of all around
me and confused, at first anyway.
A sparkling silver light tapestry engulfed me, it was full of creativity and wonder. I saw it glowing with wishes half woven. Inside the lights I saw
the people, the sailors - emotion flooded my consciousness.
That was my first day, as my life progressed and the years matured me, perception slowly seeped through my awareness bringing understanding to my
task, my life’s work.
The first time I felt darkness in my midst I was scared and shocked and wondered how such bright lights could dim so suddenly, as I aged I started to
understand that penetrating this darkness was terror.
It was my job to shield those in fear and to guard all those who sailed in me, I was the second and last Pennsylvania class of "super-dreadnought"
battleship. My job was to be tough in majesty, strong, brave and to protect all those who sailed in me.
‘Non sibi sed patriae’,
‘ Not self but country’ was my motto and the motto of those men who walked my galleys.
As they cared for me, I cared for them, I listened to their half formed dreams and helped them to nurture love and kinship, I comforted them as they
slept and lent them my strength and power. When pain and loneliness invaded their minds and hearts, I held them tenderly and wept and like all mothers
everywhere I loved them all.
My job was to protect my boys, to guide them and to keep them safe. I carried out my duties for many years with pride and distinction. I sailed to
England after the Great War and with others escorted the ocean liner George Washington, with the then President Woodrow Wilson into Brest so he
could attend the Paris Peace Conference.
They promised never again.
I believed them.
In the years to come I would spend many happy days, sailing across the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Pacific, it was almost idyllic patrolling US
waters protecting my countrymen and keeping the peace.
I saw an order return to men and optimism once again allowed their energies to shine, this filled me with fortitude.
But, one day, the lightness started to dim and I noticed that the sparkles once silver and dynamic were now motionless and grey.
A great sadness had entered the world. I reflect on that day now as I remember the day that changed my life.
But that day, that day that changed everything.
My heart aches as I recall, the crashing noise, the screams, and the pain and as December the 7th 1941 dawned with such horror, the skies above
darkened and explosions ripped me apart.
Fire flashed and raged. As water filled my passageways, I entered the water in two halves, my boys 1177 of them were destined to join me consigned to
the bottom of the sea.
I am the USS Arizona, I lie at the bottom of Pearl Harbour.
They think I am just a memorial, consigned to history, but I am very much alive.
I will remain here until the last of my warriors makes that great passage sailing west.
They will sail with honour and I will salute them as I watch vitality and energy once more return to their bodies, which have grown tired with life.
I will delight as I witness them becoming young with youth and vigour.
I will wait until the last of my brave sailors makes this journey, as he passes, I will then take a long deep breathe, a last breathe, that will be
my final day.
I will then follow my men. My lifes work complete.
I leave you with my short tale and the memorial that marks my site, it was an honour and privilege to serve.
edit on 10-2-2013 by HelenConway because: (no reason given)
edit on 10-2-2013 by HelenConway because: (no reason