Few could argue that the events of December 7, 1941 had a dramatic effect on our nation. The attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the United States to declare war on Japan, whose allies in turn, declared war on the United States. Four years later, Japanese capitulation brought an end to World War II.
At the center of these momentous events were the USS Arizona and USS Missouri. And now, the historic guns from these battleships are at risk of being destroyed and sold for scrap metal.
Is that the way we want to recognize the sacrifice of our WWII veterans who fought for our liberty and freedom?
The Arizona Capitol Museum and I don’t think so either. Our solution? Bring the guns from the Arizona and Missouri to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza and display them as a part of a WWII exhibit representing the beginning and end of the war.
These two guns will be two visual reminders of what “peace through strength” really means.
The unprovoked attack on Hawaii changed the course of World War II. But it also shaped Arizona’s future. Without doubt, the military presence in Arizona during the war helps explain the state’s post-war explosion of population and economic activity. By respectfully displaying these artifacts, we honor the sacrifice of our WWII veterans and recognize the impact returning GI’s had on Arizona building it into the great state it is.
That’s why a our special project is so important to veterans, their families, active military personnel and generations of future Arizonans.
While several local companies have expressed interest helping us with the project, the biggest hurdle we face is getting the guns from Virginia to Arizona. Due to their weight, length and location on the east coast, the guns will require special transportation logistics. Once the guns arrive, volunteers will build concrete mounts and restore the guns for permanent display.
The estimated costs of handling nearly 200 tons of US Navy steel could approach $500,000, and we will be funding the project with private contributions, not taxpayer dollars. But we cannot “Salute the Fallen” without your generous contribution to the project.
It’s our hope that you will “Salute the Fallen” and help bring these historic military artifacts to Arizona by the 70th anniversary of the “Day of Infamy” this December.
Adding these two visible bookends from the war will encourage people to reflect and admire the strength and courage it takes to defend a nation.