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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: USS Arizona memorial is redundant and unnecessary

Carmen Valencia / The Daily Wildcat

The USS Arizona Memorial is projected finish Nov. 30, but some students have questioned the wisdom of building a new memorial.

The UA will soon be home to another memorial to the USS Arizona, a Pennsylvania-class battleship that was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, resulting in the United States’ involvement in World War II.

Building a memorial is always admirable, but some people around campus are starting to question the wisdom of building another memorial to the USS Arizona. 

Don’t get me wrong—it is important to memorialize events in history, especially Dec. 7, 1941. 

The United States lost 2,335 of our bravest sailors and Marines on that day. A thousand families and thousands more friends felt the impact of the attack as they lost a loved one. 

The attack on Pearl Harbor and the sinking of the USS Arizona are not events that should ever be forgotten. 

In fact, the Student Union Memorial Center was designed to resemble the fallen battleship. 

A bell from the USS Arizona is housed in the clock tower at the union, and the bottom floor near the textbook return windows is covered in quotes memorializing those sailors who lost their lives. The student union is a tremendous tribute and memorial to the sinking of the USS Arizona. 

RELATED: USS Arizona mall memorial to open by 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

This new memorial is different in that it will incorporate, emblazoned on bronze medallions, the names of those who were killed while serving on the ship during the Peral Harbor attack. 

I think these medallions could be added to the student union and have a far greater impact on the student population.

Anyone walking through the student union should know that it’s a memorial to the USS Arizona, but as it stands now, this fact is easy to miss. 

The student union’s tributes to the events of the tragedy are mostly out of sight and easy to ignore for the tired and over caffeinated student body. 

By adding such a powerful component to the student union, it would become a much more obvious and meaningful memorial.

We should do more with the memorials we have. 

RELATED: USS Arizona survivor Lauren Bruner comes to UA

The student union should do more to educate the students about the impact of the sinking of the USS Arizona and what it means to us today. 

Building it on the UA Mall is a misplaced effort at catching the attention of the student body and has actually drawn some of their ire because recreation space has been taken away by the project. 

The UA is not financially supporting the project—all the funding is coming from citizen donations. 

While I cannot police people for what they spend their money on, it seems like we could be more focused on what projects the UA collects donations for—especially when climbing school fees and tuition are leaving a greater financial burden on students every year. 

It is hard to be against the project. It will be built regardless of these criticisms, and I still think it important to honor the heros involved. 

But, for future projects, we should do more critical thinking as a community about how we memorialize events similar to the sinking of the USS Arizona. 

The UA community understands how important the events of Dec. 7, 1941, are and how they shaped America. 

But it would be more impactful and financially sound to work with the memorials we have already.

Follow Rhiannon Bauer on Twitter.

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