HONOLULU (KHON2) — The 76th anniversary of the end of World War II was celebrated aboard the historic USS Missouri on Thursday, Sept. 2, atop the same decks where the most destructive war in history was officially brought to an end.
The Instrument of Surrender was signed by Imperial Japan aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.
The commemoration ceremony was held virtually and without guests on the fantail of the enormous battleship due to gathering restrictions.
The ceremony included music by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band – Harbor Brass Quintet, a rifle salute, a playing of Taps, elements of a traditional end of WWII anniversary commemoration aboard Mighty Mo featuring a joint Armed Forces color guard and a “performance of Amazing Grace to honor all service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of America’s freedoms,” according to officials at the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
“As we reflect on the significance of commemorating the end of World War II and the peace that followed, we are also committed to doing what’s right for our future generations as captured in today’s program theme – Looking to the Future. To preserve and perpetuate the USS Missouri’s legacy for decades to come, we have completed several vital restoration projects and will continue to undertake major improvements that will celebrate what the Mighty Mo and our Armed Forces represent to the people of our nation.”
Michael Carr, President and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association and caretaker of Battleship Missouri Memorial
Hawaii Rep. Ed Case delivered an address at the ceremony where he declared, “We cannot start today without reflecting that another war, our longest one, has just ended. It is hard to find the right words at this difficult time for our country and world. As we reflect on a war in which 800,000 of our own served, 20,000 injured, and 2,461 died including 13 just a week ago.”
“And maybe its best that we try not to answer all the questions now. Maybe it’s best that for now, we honor our fallen, care for our wounded, say a simple thanks again to those who served,” Rep. Case said. “Try to be better people and a better country. Try to find the right path forward in a world that is more complicated, more precarious than yesterday.”
The 64th Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Samuel Paparo, was a distinguished guest speaker at the ceremony and gave his thoughts on the humbling honor of following the legacy of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
“As commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, it is so humbling to serve in the wake of Fleet Admiral Nimitz and all of the giants that succeeded him, and all of the giants on whose shoulders we stand that served alongside him. Admiral Nimitz made the very hard decision to send courageous Americans to remote and to difficult places to fight. To our veterans of the second World War and indeed to all veterans everywhere, we thank you for your unselfish and your heroic service more than seven and a half decades ago.”Admiral Samuel Paparo, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander
The chief historian for the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Daniel Martinez, was also in attendance and shared the story of transporting an old American flag 9,000 miles to Tokyo, a duty that was assigned to Navy officer Lt. John Bremyer.
The American flag was successfully delivered to the USS Missouri three days before Imperial Japan capitulated to the United States after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A replica of that old American flag is proudly displayed on the Mighty Mo’s surrender deck to this day.