Mighty Mo's Yearlong Commemoration

Events marking the 60th anniversary of WWII’s end to culminate on Sept. 2, 2005

By: Dawna Robertson

When the USS Missouri Memorial Association recognized the 59th anniversary of the ending of WWII last month, it did more than honor the site where Japan signed the Instrument of Formal Surrender on Sept. 2, 1945.

Held on “Mighty Mo’s” fantail at Pearl Harbor, the ceremony also launched a yearlong commemoration that culminates with the 60th anniversary ceremony on Sept. 2, 2005. “May Peace Be Now Restored to the World” is the theme for a full year of special events to be held at Pearl Harbor in honor of those who served in WWII.

“As our nation approaches this day of remembrance - 60 years after peace was restored to the world - the USS Missouri Memorial Association seeks to ensure that humanity will always remember the courage and sacrifices of those who served,” remarked Don Hess, president and chief operating officer of the association serving as the Battleship’s caretaker.

Hess also noted the association’s goal of sharing honor and pride with “Mighty Mo” visitors.

“For the thousands of Navy sailors who pass through this harbor every year and see the Battleship Missouri standing watch, it symbolizes the triumph of freedom over tyranny, and a proud and just end to the greatest naval war in history,” added Capt. Michael C. Vitale, Navy Region Hawaii Commander.

WWII ended aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945, when representatives of 10 nations, including U.S. General Douglas MacArthur, assembled on her deck in Tokyo Bay, Japan to receive the surrender documents from Japanese officials. A plaque now marks the exact location of the surrender, and copies of the original documents are displayed on the “Surrender Deck” for visitors to view.

Events being scheduled at Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 60th anniversary include:

" Nov. 11, 2004 Veterans Day Ceremony

" Dec. 7, 2004 63rd Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

" January 2005 61st Anniversary of the Battleship Missouri’s Launching, and The History Channel’s Battleship Missouri Project World Premiere Event

" March 2005 “Parade the Bands” Month-long Procession of Bands

" May 2005 Military Appreciation Month

" June 2005 61st Anniversary of the Commissioning of the USS Missouri, and a Joint Mass Military Reenlistment Ceremony

" July 4, 2005 Independence Day

" August 27-28, 2005 National Destroyer Association and Tin Can Sailors Reunion, “Turn on the Lights” in Pearl Harbor

" Sept. 2, 2005 60th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemorative Ceremony

Battleship To Honor U.S. Navy’s Birthday

In celebration of the U.S. Navy’s 229th birthday on Oct. 13, all active-duty, reserve and retired U.S. Navy personnel will be offered free admission and 10% off retail purchases at the Battleship Missouri Memorial throughout October. In addition, their immediate family members will receive a 50% discount on admission and 10% off retail purchases.

To take advantage of the offer, qualified visitors must present their military ID at the Battleship Missouri Memorial ticket window.

“Our staff and volunteers are privileged to have in our care the Battleship Missouri, a powerful symbol of the strength and honor of the U.S. Navy and an icon of America’s perseverance,” Hess commented. “We are pleased to salute our brave sailors in this way.”

Regular admission to the “Mighty Mo” is $16 per adult and $8 per child 4-12.

Military rates are $10 per adult and $5 per child. As part of the Navy’s birthday special, admission for immediate family members of Navy personnel with ID cards will be $5 per adult and $2.50 per child. Guided tours are additional. The USS Missouri Memorial is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.