On June 21, 1998, Hawaii welcomed America’s last battleship, the USS Missouri. Thousands of spectators stood along Oahu’s shorelines from mauka (mountains) to makai (ocean) as they anxiously awaited the passing of the Mighty Mo. For many, it was the first time seeing the Battleship Missouri in open waters; an experience like no other.
The following morning, just after 8:35 a.m., the Victory Sea and Navy tug boats led the Mighty Mo into Pearl Harbor as she finished her 29 day, 2,715 mile journey from the Pacific Northwest.
Thousands of people gathered by the Hickam Officers’ Club and stood on the beaches of Iroquois Point to get a glimpse of the famous American hero. Among the many spectators was Word War II veteran, Jiro Yukimura, who witnessed the signing of the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945 on board the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
At 9:15 a.m. the USS Missouri reached Pier Foxtrot 5 where she begin her watch over her fallen sister ship, the USS Arizona.
Jennie Yukimura captures a photo of her husband, Jiro and granddaughter, Maile Wehrheim.
On January 29, 1999, the Missouri opened up as a museum and tourist attraction to the public. Since then, the association has taken on numerous projects which include the restoration of the ship’s teak deck, the Wardroom, the ship’s superstructure, staterooms, berthing areas, new exhibits and more. With the support from employees, volunteers, members, donors and visitors, the USS Missouri Memorial Association, a non-profit 501(c)(3), is able to continue to share the ship’s story and her place in history. Today, the Missouri welcomes over 500,000 visitors each year.
This year, the association will be commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II, under the theme, The Day that Launched a Better Future. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 9:02 a.m. at the Battleship Missouri where the Instrument of Surrender was signed in 1945. For more information and to confirm your attendance to this anniversary event, please visit- https://ussmissouri.org/get-involved/events/end-of-wwii-commemoration/.
Were you one of the thousands of spectators who saw the Mighty Mo arrive in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1998? We encourage you to share your story and experience in the comments below.