Above 700 people were present today at a ceremony on the decommissioned battleship Missouri commemorating the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Japan formally surrendered on the deck of the Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay, ending history’s most destructive war, with 50 million to 70 million killed.
The war started in 1939. America’s involvement began with the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Among the ships lost was the battleship USS Arizona, which lies bow to bow with the Missouri, a memorial and museum.
“These magnificent ships, the Missouri and the Arizona, are the bookends of World War II,” said U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. “The Arizona represents sacrifice and the resilient spirit of the American people, (and) the Missouri speaks of America’s triumphant victory.”
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, a former Army chief of staff and a Kauai native, said with the surrender signing in 1945, the Missouri decks, once filled with the sound and fury of war, fell silent.
“The significance of this stately memorial lies not just in the strength of steel,” Shinseki said, “but in the soul of a generation or ordinary Americans who came forward to serve their country in extraordinary ways.”