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Veterans Day Tributes End At Pearl Harbor With A Sunset Ceremony Onboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial

Pearl Harbor, HI – (November 11, 2017) – Today’s Veterans Day observances across our nation came to a close with a sunset ceremony held on-board the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

This year’s ceremony featured a special tribute to women veterans both past and present who served in our Armed Forces. The theme, “Honoring Our Brave Women Veterans of All Generations” recognizes the vast contributions our women veterans have made to ensure America’s freedom, dates back to the American War of Independence. Currently, women veterans represent more than two million of our total veteran population nationwide.

“The importance of women serving our armed forces has grown in stature through the years and with each battle,” said Michael Carr, president and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, caretaker of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. “The achievements of our women veterans have helped to make the U.S. Military one of the most diverse organizations in America.”

On Battleship Row and with the USS Arizona Memorial at a distance, Colonel Kara A. Gormont, a 25-year veteran of the United States Air Force, and Commander for the 15th Medical Group at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam presented the ceremony’s keynote address. Col. Gormont talked about her personal experiences and role as a wife, mother and daughter serving in the military, and the challenges women encounter.

“It is often the strain of competing roles that cause many women to leave military service much too early,” said Col. Kara A. Gormont. “Military women have a history of ‘Leaning In,’ but often it is the pull of their family ties and roles that make this more challenging for them to serve.”

Jaqueline Ashwell, superintendent of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and a 24-year veteran of the National Park Service served as the distinguished guest speaker. In her speech, Ashwell highlighted why representation in the Armed Forces matter, dating back to the success of the Women’s Air Raid Defense (WARD) detachment in Hawaii in 1941.

“By mid-January, the Women’s Air Raid Defense was online. Local radar operators quickly got over the initial surprise of hearing a confident female voice on the other end of the radio,” said Jaqueline Ashwell. “I feel incredibly fortunate to be here at Pearl Harbor, sharing our critical history – our part in the war, our path to peace and reconciliation. Our gratitude goes out to all those brave women as well as men who prepare for war in order that we may make peace.”

The opening remarks provided by Rear Admiral Alma Grocki, USN (Ret.), board member for the USS Missouri Memorial Association, holds the distinction of being the first woman from Hawaii appointed to the United States Naval Academy.

“Then 1976 arrived, and although it had been planned and in the works for almost a decade, the opening of the military service academies to women was still a surprise, and very controversial,” said RADM Alma Grocki, USN (Ret.). “This is when the story about women veterans came out of the history books and became real for me. I was able to take advantage of this huge integration of women into the mainstream military and join the second class of women at the United States Naval Academy.”

Surrounded by the hallowed waters of Pearl Harbor, our Veterans Day sunset ceremony included a moment of silence to remember America’s fallen heroes followed by the playing of Taps by the 25th Infantry Division Band.


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Caption: Distinguished speaker Jaqueline Ashwell and Keynote speaker Colonel Kara Gormont.
Photo Courtesy: Battleship Missouri Memorial Association

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Caption: The Pacific Command Joint Service Color Guard presented the colors on Saturday's ceremony.
Photo Courtesy: Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman, US Navy.

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Caption: Rear Admiral Alma Grocki (USN Ret.) presented the opening address on Saturday's ceremony.
Photo Courtesy: Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman, US Navy.

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Caption: Korean War Veteran salutes the flag at the sunset ceremony.
Photo Courtesy: Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman, US Navy

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Caption: Veteran service members from the Military Order of the Purple Heart attended the sunset ceremony at the USS Missouri on Saturday, November 11, 2017.

Photo Courtesy: Battleship Missouri Memorial Association.

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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Media Contacts:
Shere’e Quitevis
(808) 539-3434

Jaclyn Hawse

(808) 455-1600 ext. 246