Preparing for U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial Dedication

Eileen Martinez
Eileen Martinez

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- We are here, at the site of that soon-to-be dedicated -- U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial. It promises to be distinguished, and poignant. Joining us now, is Eileen Martinez of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Visitor Center.

MARVIN: Good morning.

EILEEN:  Good morning.

MARVIN:  Your job is interpretation, to make the U.S.S. Memorial more accessible to visitors.  What does that mean and how does it make it more accessible to folks who visit the memorial?

EILEEN:   Interpretation tells the stories of December 7, 1941 and we do that at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.  We are looking forward to that same task.  It's a big responsibility and we will have staff on site as much as possible but it's important that visitors understand that this memorial is located on Ford Island so there will be kind of a unique opportunity to visit the Battleship Missouri as well as the Pacific Air Museum when visitors take the bus that leaves from the U.S.S. Bowfin's parking lot to come out to the U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial.

MARVIN:  As the survivors have given you input and you work with them, how fulfilling and how intense has this project been?

EILEEN:  Working with the survivors, I think, is my most important job.  Listening to their stories, asking them questions and trying to fully understand what do they want us to remember, what stories do they want us to be telling and resonating as the theme "please help us remember Pearl Harbor" and that's what this upcoming event is all about and the dedication, of course, of the U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial.

MARVIN:  At noon, we'll have the dedication, the survivors will be here, what do you anticipate that moment will be like for you?

EILEEN:  This will be my first December 7th and I believe it's going to be emotional.  I know that I'm going to feel the responsibility and understand that it is a great honor to be speaking for those that lost their lives, for those that are still with us from the day, December 7, 1941.

MARVIN:  Well Eileen, thank you for taking the time to join us this morning, we'll see you again on Friday and folks, as we've just said, Friday marks the 66th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The commerative services will include the dedication of the new U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial. That is set for noon, admission is free.