War is a devastating force that changes everything it touches. It’s not just the people involved who are affected by it; the actual landscape of the world can suffer under the destruction wrought by military forces locked in explosive battle.

As World War II made its way around the globe, it left in its wake a trail of ruin that touched major cities, destroying commercial centers and residential areas alike, and turned great fields of green into vast stretches of wasteland. Though the United States was physically separated from the ravages of battle, it carries its own scars of war, reminders of a powerful conflict involving most of the world.

The Human Impact of War

Pearl Harbor survivor on the USS Arizona Memorial

To see these scars, you may not have to go very far as they’re most visible and likely most prevalent among the soldiers, sailors, and Marines who returned from the war. Though their ranks are dwindling, there are still World War II veterans alive to tell their tales and recount the what it was like to have lived amidst the horrors of the war. There’s no denying the psychological trauma that came with pointing a rifle at another person, regardless of whether they were the “enemy” or not.

 

 

Physical Scars of War on Land and Sea

scars of war

Bullet holes still visible at Hickam Field

Though the planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy had very specific targets on the morning of December, 7, 1941, all of which were lined up at Battleship Row, their attack on grounded aircraft nearby—to prevent an American counter-attack—left marks of war that have survived the passage of time and, over 75 years later, are still plainly visible. Buildings at Hickam Field still bear chips in the cement from incoming machine gun fire. Small holes can be found all over the air base, serving as tiny remembrances of the attack.

But the most striking of all the scars of war for the United States sits at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, destroyed by Japanese bombs and torpedoes. The remnants of the USS Arizona now lie rusting where she sank. The USS Arizona Memorial, built above the sunken hulk of the once-mighty battlesip, serves as a means of keeping the memory of the Pearl Harbor attack alive while honoring the over 1,100 men who perished aboard the ship.

The loss of the Arizona was a major hit to the nation’s morale and is bound to be the longest-lasting scar of the war in the United States, proving that time can’t heal all wounds.

 

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