On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the American Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Thousands of Americans were killed or wounded in an attack that led Congress to declare war on Japan the next day. All 8 battleships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were sunk or badly damaged in the attacks, including The Battleship Oklahoma (BB-37). It was the only ship without a memorial to honor the 429 sailors and marines killed during the attack and the remains of the 429 were buried in unmarked mass graves. Beck Design is honored to have had the opportunity to design the USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
The architecture assignment: To design a memorial that would provide individual recognition for the 429 who were killed.
The solution: The design concept was derived from the U.S. Navy tradition of "manning the rails". When a navy ship comes home to port after deployment, the crew outlines the ship, standing at attention in dress whites. In keeping with this tradition, the design includes 429 seven foot tall white granite standards, each with the name and rank for every lost serviceman. The gray/black granite represents the hull of the ship and the 429 white standards represent the sailors, coming home for the final time. The standards are shoulder width apart and placed in rows that allow the visitors to walk among them.