Trippy visits Pearl Harbor. The battleship USS Missouri, on board which the official surrender documents ending the Second World War were signed, is on the left. The control tower for the Ford Island airfield is in the center. The USS Arizona Memorial, where the war began for the United States, is to the right.
This dramatic photo superbly portrays the chronology of the war. Symbolizing the mores of the aggressor nation, the photo is interpreted from right to left, in accordance with Japanese custom. On the right is the Arizona Memorial, site of America's first significant loss in the conflict, and a rallying point for the subsequent call to arms. In the center, standing alone and undaunted amid the smoldering rubble of the attack, rises the Ford Island air station control tower, representing America's air superiority that would eventually signal the end of Japan's quest for power in the west. To the right rides the majestic Mighty Mo'. Not yet built at the onset of hostilities, the battleship Missouri served as the site of Japan's eventual unconditional surrender.
The late afternoon light, providing a glittering radiance to the scene, is in direct antithesis to Japan's wartime emblem, the "Rising Sun." Looming over the entire panorama is the eerily glowing "dragon" figure in the foreground, representing the savage destructive power of the atom bomb which finally quelled the conflict. Further, the "atomic dragon," gazing implacably at the relics of the last conventional war, symbolizes the obsolescence of traditional conflict; yet, with its back turned to the viewer and slightly soft-focused appearance, it also suggests a force that is not fully controlled or understood; an awesome power embodying a callous and terrifying disregard for human life.
-- from The Plastic Lizard as New Millennial Archetype (unpublished manuscript), by Billy Jean Skink