PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Seventy-one years ago, America's last battleship, the USS Missouri was launched out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard to begin a military career that would span three wars over five decades.
With the "Mighty Mo" completed ahead of schedule, 19-year-old Margaret Truman, daughter of Missouri Senator Harry Truman, received the honor of being the sponsor of the newly constructed USS Missouri. On Jan. 29, 1944, Miss Truman christened the last battleship ever built by America as it slid into the waters of the East River. A huge crowd of Navy leaders, government officials and workers watched as one of the only women with a role in the day's festivities ceremoniously smashed a bottle of champagne on its hull to officially launch the battleship into service.
Today also marks the 16th anniversary of the day the Battleship Missouri Memorial made its mark as a living piece of history in historic Pearl Harbor. On Jan. 29, 1999, 55 years after its original launch, the Mighty Mo opened its gangway, welcoming visitors to explore above and below its storied decks. The retired USS Missouri showcases the history-making achievements of the great battleship and honors the Armed Forces members responsible for ensuring America's freedom.
"The War That Changed the World" exhibit opens Jan. 29 onboard the Mighty Mo in tribute to the USS Missouri's integral role in World War II, culminating in serving as the site where the Allied Forces accepted Imperial Japan's formal surrender to end the war on Sept. 2, 1945.
Titled, "The War That Changed the World," the new exhibit immerses visitors into the everyday lives of people that lived through the war period with life-sized artifacts and oversized images. The exhibit commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Mighty Mo's launch anniversaries will be celebrated at Living History Day, Jan. 31, during a day of festivities.
As a special mahalo to celebrate these anniversaries, admission to the Battleship Missouri Memorial will be free to Hawaii residents and members of the Armed Forces throughout the day.
Guests to the Battleship Missouri Memorial on Living History Day will enjoy a variety of historical exhibits and activities that will be as fun and entertaining, as they are educational, including:
* Displays of military vehicles, memorabilia and weaponry
* Access to tour special areas of the Battleship Missouri, including the Captain's Cabin and the Radio Room
* Military musical bands
* Oral history presentations
* Re-enactors in historical period dress and costumes
* Static displays from active-duty military units
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than 6 million visitors from around the world with a fascinating tour experience showcasing the USS Missouri's unique place in history. Located a mere ship's length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the "day of infamy" and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and ends with Imperial Japan's surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars - World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm - after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants, and donations.
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, kamaaina (local resident) and school group pricing is available. For information or reservations, call (toll-free) 1-877-644-4896 or visit USSMissouri.org