HISTORY COMES ALIVE AT THE “MIGHTY MO”
USS Missouri’s Dual Anniversaries as a Battleship and Memorial Celebrated at “Living History Day on Ford Island”
News Release from USSMissouri.org
Pearl Harbor, HI – (February 1, 2014) – “General Douglas MacArthur” was again presiding over the Surrender Deck where peace was restored. A Civil War-era warship was again blowing its steam engine. Couples danced to “Big Band” music. And a huge crowd walked the decks of America’s last and most famous battleship, the USS Missouri.
It was all part of the festivities of “Living History Day on Ford Island” celebrating the USS Missouri’s 70th anniversary of its launch and the 15th anniversary of its opening as the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Residents of Hawaii and members of the military were admitted today for free – a thank you from the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
Michael A. Carr, President and COO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial, commented, “We are very grateful for the wonderful support we have received from all of Hawaii in our first 15 years, and thankful to our Armed Forces members for their service in protecting America’s freedom.”
State Representative K. Mark Takai honored the celebration of the USS Missouri’s anniversaries with the presentation of a certificate from the Hawaii State House of Representatives to Carr under the Missouri’s “Big Guns” fronting Gun Turret 1.
“All of us are very proud of what the USS Missouri represents to Hawaii and the people of our nation, and how it now stands together forever with the USS Arizona in historic Pearl Harbor as the bookends of sacrifice and triumph,” said Rep. Takai.
Other festivities taking place today included musical performances by the Pacific Fleet Brass Band and the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division Band; displays of military vehicles, memorabilia and weaponry; a flyover by the Pacific Warbird vintage airplane; several oral history presentations on topics that included the History of Women in World War II and the Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard; and people dressed up in period attire dating back to World War II and before.
Guests also enjoyed a new onboard exhibit that pays tribute to the USS Missouri’s launch 70 years ago and its subsequent rebirth as the Battleship Missouri Memorial 55 years later. The new exhibit features photos of the Missouri under construction, as well as never-before-seen film footage of the actual launching taken by a Brooklyn Navy Yard worker.
Carr noted that celebrating the Missouri’s dual anniversaries with Living History Day on Ford Island will become an annual event.
It was 70 years ago on January 29, 1944, when Margaret Truman, sponsor of the USS Missouri and daughter of future President Harry Truman, christened the last battleship ever built by America. A crowd of Navy leaders, government officials and workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard watched the gigantic “Mighty Mo” slide into the East River and begin a military career spanning three wars over five decades.
Stretching three football fields long and standing 20 stories tall from keel to mast, the USS Missouri was instrumental to victory in major battles of the Pacific during World War II before serving as the memorable site where General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz and the Allied Forces accepted Imperial Japan’s surrender to end the war and restore peace on September 2, 1945. The Missouri’s famed “Surrender Deck” is now a must-see monument for visitors to the battleship.
The USS Missouri also played a key role in protecting America’s military forces in the Korean War from 1950-1953, and Operation Desert Storm in early 1991.
The USS Missouri’s final mission took place on December 7, 1991, when the Mighty Mo was berthed in Pearl Harbor near the sunken USS Arizona for the 50th anniversary ceremony commemorating the attack by Imperial Japan that thrust the United States into World War II. The USS Missouri was then retired and decommissioned for the final time on March 31, 1992.
On January 29, 1999, exactly 55 years after its launch, the Battleship Missouri Memorial opened in Pearl Harbor to showcase the history-making achievements of the retired battleship and honor the Armed Forces members responsible for ensuring America’s freedom.
Today, as the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the Mighty Mo is berthed at Pier Foxtrot 5 on Ford Island, standing bow-to-bow to the USS Arizona and creating a stirring bond between America’s two battleships signifying the beginning and end of World War II. Visitors tour the main and upper decks and throughout the inside of the retired battleship to see historical exhibits and get a first-hand glimpse as to how the Missouri’s crewmembers lived and worked while at sea.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. General admission, which includes choice of an optional tour, is $25 per adult and $13 per child (4-12). Military, kama‘aina (local resident) and school group pricing is available. For information or reservations, call (toll-free) 1-877-644-4896 or visit USSMissouri.org.
The Battleship Missouri Memorial, located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and the sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and ends with Imperial Japan’s surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
Following an astounding career that spans five decades and three wars, from World War II to the Korean conflict to the Liberation of Kuwait, the “Mighty Mo” was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which operates the battleship as a historic attraction and memorial.
The Association oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants and the generosity of donors.
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