SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Active-duty service members, veterans and guests paid tribute to naval heroes during a commemoration ceremony aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, June 4, marking the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.
The Battle of Midway took place June 3-7, 1942. During the battle, U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike forces surprised and defeated a Japanese carrier strike force, preventing the capture of Midway Island.
The Battle of Midway is an important marker in naval heritage because it is considered to have changed the course of the war in the Pacific by putting the previously unstoppable Japanese forces on the defensive. With the Midway victory, the allies went on the offensive and ultimately drove the enemy back, resulting in their eventual surrender Sept. 2, 1945.
Retired Rear Adm. John "Mac" Mclaughlin, president and CEO of the USS Midway Museum, kicked off the celebration before introducing Vice Adm. Nora W. Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet.
"The Battle of Midway was one of the greatest naval battles the world has ever witnessed," Tyson said. "Today, we honor that battle and those who fought so bravely to turn the tide of World War II. The stories of courage and heroism at Midway are remarkable in every sense."
During the ceremony, military and civilian leaders honored the surviving veterans, along with family and friends of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their extraordinary service 74 years ago.
The event's guest speaker, Ian W. Toll, author of "Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy," spoke of the importance of the victory at Midway and the importance of the aircraft carrier, then and now.
"The Battle of Midway was a devastating counter-punch, just six months after the events at Pearl Harbor," said Toll. "It was also an indicator of the fighting spirit of the American service members."
The ceremony closed with a playing of Echo Taps and a moment of silence.
For more information about the Battle of Midway, visit http://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/commemorations-toolkits/battle-of-midway.html.
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