Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green and Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe served as the ceremony’s distinguished guest speakers.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial honored two of the most significant anniversaries in the storied history of the USS Missouri, the last battleship ever built and the site where World War II came to an end.

The 75th anniversary of the USS Missouri’s launch into military service and its 20th anniversary as a living educational maritime museum at Pearl Harbor were recognized by dignitaries in a ceremony, followed by the Battleship Missouri Memorial’s annual Living History Day, which featured historical exhibits, displays of artifacts and entertainment throughout the day.

Michael Carr, president and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, caretaker of the Battleship Missouri Memorial, began the ceremony noting the incredible effort that went into constructing the battleship fondly referred to as the Mighty Mo. “Seventy-five years ago, on January 29, 1944, the USS Missouri was launched from the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York,” said Carr. “Building this gigantic battleship was an amazing achievement that required 175 tons of blueprint paper and required more than 3 million-man days to complete over a three-year period.”

Commander George Howell, commanding officer for the submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780), which is homeported in Pearl Harbor, provided the opening address.

“Today, this battleship is a living museum that brings history to life. For the past 20 years, this magnificent warship is our connection to the past,” said Commander Howell. “Ninety-nine percent of our fellow countrymen have not served and will not serve. But they care and they want to learn. This living educational maritime museum gives all of us the ability to live these stories, feel what it must have been like to serve onboard, touch the guns, relate to the sacrifice it takes to preserve our freedom.”

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green and Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe served as the ceremony’s distinguished guest speakers.

Lieutenant Governor Green commented, “The USS Missouri is a marvel, and not just an industrial, or architectural, or military marvel, but a marvel of human condition. It is a testament to our resilience, our reconciliation for new beginnings and new-found purpose. To our resolute dedication to building a better world based on the lessons and sacrifices of the past.”

Lieutenant Governor Kehoe presented the USS Missouri Memorial Association with two very special gifts, along with a donation of $250,000 to support the battleship’s continued preservation. “Missouri is known as the Show-Me State, but this great vessel has nothing more to prove to Missourians or to America, said Lieutenant Governor Kehoe. “She has been faithful in war and faithful in peace. May we always be faithful to her legacy and her place in history. She has indeed earned the hard-fought honor that after years of sweat and blood, Missourians, the United States and the world do not need to ask her to ‘show me’ any longer.”

The gifts presented by Kehoe were a piece of marble and a gold-plated bowl with the Missouri State seal etched on to it. Both will be displayed in the wardroom of the Battleship Missouri Memorial.

Vice Admiral Robert Kihune, chairman emeritus of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, was instrumental in the drive to have the Mighty Mo permanently berthed on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor, bow-to-bow to the sunken USS Arizona.

Admiral Kihune recounted the incredible efforts of the first group of Association employees and volunteers to get the Missouri in shipshape condition and ready for tours 20 years ago. “I commend the 11 staff members and the more than 5,000 volunteers who worked tirelessly every day to help make this ship what it is today. Without them we would have never been able to open this ship to the public on January 29, 1999.”

Following the ceremony, the Battleship Missouri Memorial celebrated the anniversaries with Living History Day. The free event featured performances by the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division Tropic Knights Band, high school jazz bands, exhibits of military vehicles, memorabilia and wartime weaponry, oral history and re-enactment presentations from the World War II era, tours of the battleship and a range of activities provided by various historic Hawaii organizations

The USS Missouri was launched on January 29, 1944, and played an integral part in the Allied forces’ success in the Pacific in World War II – which concluded with the formal surrender of Japan on deck of the Mighty Mo.

On January 29, 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial opened to the public as a memorial and museum, honoring those who have served aboard. The Battleship Missouri Memorial sits bow- to-bow with the USS Arizona – two battleships signifying the beginning and end of World War II.