Trump visits Pearl Harbour, USS Arizona memorial

2017-11-04 07:46
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump throw flowers during their visit to the USS Arizona Memorial on November 3, 2017, at Pearl Harbour in Honolulu, Hawaii. (JIM WATSON / AFP)

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump throw flowers during their visit to the USS Arizona Memorial on November 3, 2017, at Pearl Harbour in Honolulu, Hawaii. (JIM WATSON / AFP)

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Hawaii — President Donald Trump paid a solemn visit on Friday to Pearl Harbour and its memorial to the USS Arizona, a hallowed place he said he had read about, discussed and studied but had never visited until just before opening his first official visit to Asia.

Trump saluted after entering the memorial following a short boat ride with first lady Melania Trump.

They approached a wreath of white flowers — a gift from the couple — and watched as two sailors who stood beside it at attention placed the wreath near a wall of names of the fallen.

Pearl Harbour was the scene of a surprise attack by Japan that plunged the US into World War II, killing hundreds of service members.

After the wreath was placed, the Trumps tossed white flower petals into the waters above the battleship's sunken hull.

Trump did not speak publicly at the memorial. He said during an earlier meeting on Friday with military officials that he eagerly anticipated the visit.

"We are going to visit very shortly, Pearl Harbour, which I've read about, spoken about, heard about, studied, but I haven't seen. And that is going to be very exciting for me," Trump said at the start of a briefing with leaders of the US Pacific Command, which oversees US military operations in the region.

Trump stopped in Hawaii on the eve of his first visit to Asia.

He arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hicham on Friday after a daylong flight from Washington. He departs on Saturday for Japan, the first stop on the five-nation, 11-day journey that will also take him to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The president quickly donned a lei after he left Air Force One with his wife, who also wore a wreath of flowers.

Shouts from the crowd

He signed autographs and gave high-fives to kids who were among a group of civilians and service members that gathered for the arrival.

Trump wasn't the only attraction to arrive on base. A few in the crowd shouted their admiration for White House chief of staff John Kelly.

"We love you Gen. Kelly," one person shouted at the retired four-star Marine general who stood several feet behind the president.

Trump was briefed by leaders of the US Pacific Command.

The growing threat from North Korea — a crisis that will shadow the entire trip — was expected to be among the topics discussed.

Trump was also meeting with the governors of Alaska, Hawaii and Pacific US territories, all potential targets of any successful attempt by North Korea to strike the US with a nuclear-tipped missile.

The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour marks the final resting place of more than 1 000 sailors and Marines who were killed on the battleship during the surprise Japanese attack on December 7, 1941. Accessible only by boat, the memorial straddles the ship's sunken hull.

A total of more than 2 300 sailors, soldiers and Marines died as a result of the attack, as well as 68 civilians, according to the National Park Service.


Read more on:    donald trump  |  hawaii

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