Our ‘Mightiest’ Treasure
Wednesday - June 30, 2010
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By Michael A. Carr
President and chief operating officer, Battleship Missouri Memorial
When Rachel Chmiel of Atlanta, Ga., stepped aboard the Battleship Missouri on June 4, she became more than our 4-millionth visitor. Chmiel became a reminder of why we dedicate so much time and resources to preserving this magnificent ship, America’s “mightiest” national treasure.
When I first took the helm in 2008, few could have foreseen how quickly our nonprofit operation would become immersed in several major industrial-level projects that, while planned, were not necessarily planned so soon. This included millions of dollars’ worth of preservation work at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, ensuring that America’s last battleship will remain a world-class memorial and historic attraction - and one of the largest educational platforms afloat.
Thankfully, the Missouri had the leadership and expertise of its steadfast board of directors, a supportive congressional delegation, hardworking staff, exceptional partners such as those at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and BAE Systems, and, of course, our Friends of the Mighty Mo members and volunteers.
The result was a highly successful drydocking that fortified the ship against the elements, provided local jobs during a downturned economy, and now provides a model for similar historic ship preservation projects across the nation.
The arrival of our 4-millionth visitor ahead of schedule proved that this investment was worth it. More and more visitors continue to flock to the Battleship Missouri Memorial at a rate exceeding 1,700 per day, taking advantage of the rich, cumulative experience offered by the Pearl Harbor historic sites.
This summer, as we commemorate the 65th anniversary of Sept. 2, 1945 - the end of World War II, Japan’s surrender signed aboard the Mighty Mo - we invite all kamaaina and the military community to participate in a full week of commemorative activities.
Please join us at our second Night of American Heroes celebration dinner on Sept. 3. The gala will honor three individuals with Hawaii ties: retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, William W. Paty Jr. and Edwin L. Carter. Proceeds will benefit the ship’s continued preservation and expansion of educational programs.
Hawaii can take great pride in its stewardship of the “Mighty Mo.” Looking back over our first decade, it is clear that there is no more fitting a place for the Missouri than Pearl Harbor, helping to complete an epic journey that begins with the “day of infamy” that saw the sinking of the USS Arizona and ends with Japan’s surrender aboard the USS Missouri.
At the core of our efforts is a familiar statement that each of the Pearl Harbor historic sites share. It is a message directed at all WWII veterans.
For more information about WWII 65th Anniversary Commemoration Week events, visit ussmissouri.org.
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