Thousands line up to see USS Arizona Memorial

Published On: Oct 18 2013 05:46:11 PM HST   Updated On: Oct 18 2013 10:14:17 PM HST

Seventeen days after the start of the government shutdown, the USS Arizona Memorial was back open.

Thousands crowded the popular visitor attraction Friday to pay their respects.

The lines were long, the parking lot was packed and the boats were all full.

"Very honored and very honored!  And appreciate the government was able to finally open up so we could make it out to see it before we left because it was one of our main goals to see the Arizona," said Joe and Esther Platt.

The Platts from Texas have uncles who served during World War II and waited their entire lives to come to Hawaii and pay their respects to those who served.

"We very disappointed we weren't able to get out here at all," said Rosemary Miner from Ohio.  "My daughter managed some way to get tickets for today.  It would have been a major disappointment if we weren't able to get out."

While many of Hawaii's national parks opened on Thursday, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument need another day to get the facilities ready after the 16-day closure.

"All of our systems, all of the maintenance of the grounds, everything had to be restarted yesterday so we had a full day putting up our systems, taking care of the ticketing, turning on the museums and the projects and making sure everything was safe and ready for the over 4,000 people that we anticipate coming in today," said Eileen Martinez of the National Park Service.

Word got out quickly about the reopening.  Martinez says what is usually a slower time of the season brought above numbers for this time of year.  She said there was already a long line running through the parking lot before the park even opened.

PHOTOS: National parks start to reopen

Click here to see more pictures of national parks reopening in Hawaii.


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