News Column

End of Word War II Commemorated on Mighty Mo

September 3, 2013

On Sept. 2, 1945, peace was restored as World War II came to an end with Japan's surrender on the decks of the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

On Monday, the Battleship Missouri -- now a memorial and museum in Pearl Harbor -- hosted a special "End of World War II" commemoration to mark the 68th anniversary of that historic occasion and the sacrifice that made it possible.

"The ceremony onboard the Missouri 68 years ago was as much about ending the war as starting a new and lasting spirit of friendship between Japan and the U.S. that continues today," said Michael A. Carr, president and chief operating officer for the "Mighty Mo."

Between 50 million and 85 million people were killed in the 1939-1945 war, the deadliest conflict in history.

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, who directed the war in the Pacific, signed the "Instrument of Surrender" as the U.S. representative. Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, chief of the army general staff, signed the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese.

A new 9-foot bronze-and-granite statue of Nimitz was unveiled and dedicated at the ceremony Monday. The statue will be permanently installed in Pearl Harbor at Pier Foxtrot 5, the pier where the Missouri is berthed.

The Naval Order of the United States selected the Battleship Missouri Memorial as the permanent home of the Nimitz sculpture. Crafted by Oregon artist Rip Caswell, the 8-foot, 600-pound bronze statue pays tribute to the legendary commander.

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, who presented the keynote address at the ceremony, on Friday hosted two of Nimitz's grandsons at Pacific Fleet's Makalapa headquarters.

Chester Nimitz Lay and Richard Lay were able to see all the Nimitz artifacts in his office and in the Nimitz house.

"I continue to be humbled by the opportunity to sail in Adm. Nimitz's wake as U.S. Pacific Fleet commander and feel even more closely connected after having spent time with his descendants," Haney posted on Facebook. "As we toured where Adm. Nimitz lived and worked here at Pearl Harbor, we shared personal insights on a legendary warrior who was so instrumental to our victory in the Pacific, and whose legacy we proudly preserve in the Fleet today."


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Source: Copyright Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI) 2013

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