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Remembering Peace Through Strength: Battleship Missouri Memorial Commemorates 72 Years of Peace in the Pacific

Pearl Harbor, HI – (September 2, 2017) “Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won.” General Douglas MacArthur’s timeless words from September 2, 1945 rang out again across the decks of the USS Missouri this morning, September 2, 72 years later.

Hundreds gathered to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II onboard the decks of the Battleship Missouri Memorial, berthed in the sacred waters of Pearl Harbor, bow-to-bow with the sunken USS Arizona.

The ceremony honored the heroism, valor and sacrifices of the Greatest Generation, who upheld American freedom in the bloodiest war in modern history. It all culminated onboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay 72 years ago, where General MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz and leaders of the Allied Forces accepted Japan’s formal surrender and brought an end to the global conflict.

Marines lined the decks of the Mighty Mo at this year’s commemoration, with the event paying special homage to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal -- a Marine Corps led offensive in the Pacific Theater against Japan’s military forces. The firefight to secure this strategic locale in the Solomon Islands lasted six months and set the tone for the series of Allied victories that laid the foundation for peace in the Pacific and the eventual surrender aboard the Mighty Mo, America’s last battleship.

Rear Admiral Brian Fort, Commander of Navy Region Hawaii, spoke about the mission critical actions of the U.S. Navy ships, which supported the Marine forces in the Battle of Guadalcanal, praising in particular the leadership of Fleet Admiral William “Bull” Halsey. Bold and brash, Admiral Halsey had championed support for the U.S. Marines throughout the campaign, despite challenges of low supplies and faltering morale resulting from naval conflicts leading up to Guadalcanal.

“In 1942, he was the right leader at the right place at the right time. This mighty warship, the USS Missouri, served as Bull Halsey’s flagship at the end of World War II. He stood with Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur for the signing of the surrender,” said Rear Admiral Fort. “Admiral Halsey’s life shows us how one person can make a difference. One person can inspire.”

Lieutenant General David H. Berger, Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, delivered the keynote address, honoring the valor of his brothers in arms, the sacrifices made by their families and the road to peaceful relations. General Berger made a visit to Guadalcanal earlier this summer and walked many of the hallowed grounds where the six-month battle took place.

“They were fighting to secure a better world for themselves, their families, and for generations to follow. They stood tall. They held the line. They helped set the course for peace that endures today,” said Lieutenant General Berger. “In 1945 Japan was our enemy. Today, 72 years later, Japan is our staunchest ally.”

“It is important for all generations to remember the USS Missouri’s role in America’s journey to peace, serving as a symbol not only for strength, but also compassion and reconciliation,” said Michael Carr, President and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association.

Among the distinguished guests was Art Albert, an original USS Missouri crewmember and World War II veteran, who witnessed the surrender ceremony onboard the Mighty Mo 72 years ago today. The solemn commemoration concluded with a rifle salute while the Pacific Fleet Band played Echo Taps to honor all fallen Armed Forces members who rest in peace in the former battlefields around the world.

Battleship Missouri Memorial

Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than 7-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 Japan’s formal 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 $27 per adult and $13 per child (4-12). Military, kama‘aina (local resident) and school group pricing is available. For information or reservations, call (toll-free) 1-877-644-4896 or visit

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Please credit images to U.S. Marine Corps Pacific

Caption: Former USS Missouri crewmember Art Albert witnessed the surrender of Imperial Japan aboard the warship in 1945. He returned to commemorate the momentous event on the Battleship Missouri Memorial 72 years later.
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Lieutenant General David H. Berger, Commander of Marine Corps Forces Pacific, presents the keynote address during the ceremony.
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Caption: Volunteers from the 3D Marine Regiment at parade rest just before the rifle salute.
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Caption: 3D Marine Regiment performs the rifle salute at the end of the commemoration of the 72nd Anniversary of the End of World War II.
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Please credit images to Terry Takaki

Caption: Joint Service Color Guard Members prepare to parade the colors for the 72nd Anniversary of the End of World War II commemoration ceremony at the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
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Caption: General Douglas MacArthur signs the Japanese surrender document aboard the USS Missouri.
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Laurie Simmons Jaclyn Hawse

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