h i s t o r y s f u t u r e
The story told here of transformations in the memorial landscape of Pearl
Harbor would no doubt find parallels in the career of Second World War me-
morials worldwide. But each story, each history of memory, is embedded in
specific locations, histories, and subjectivities. From my own vantage point,
as a participant- observer involved with memorial practices at the Arizona me-
morial over the last two de cades, the clearest sign of the present moment of
transition is the vanishing presence of military survivors. Today most people
coming through the entry way of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National
Monument will not encounter a veteran survivor. If they do, it’s likely to be a
sole individual, probably in a wheelchair, signing books, alongside other au-
thors or perhaps the souvenir coin salesman.
Now veteran survivors are present as the primary voices in the memorial’s
audio program and video kiosks; and they are always an honored presence in
ceremonial activities, acknowledged in December 7 ceremonies with standing
ovations and a ritual “walk of honor” (figure 2.2) leaving the event. Similarly,
the ease with which veterans of other wars and active- duty military personnel
move in and out of the spotlight of ritual practice shows that the memorial
remains a power ful space for the valorization of U.S. military heritage. The
point, rather, is that what was once the dominant perspective in the memorial’s
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