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What Is the USS Missouri Memorial?

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  • Written By: Dan Harkins
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Images By: n/a, Grebenshchikov
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
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On 7 December 1941, the tiny Hawaiian island of Oahu suffered a bloody Japanese air strike at its Pearl Harbor Navy base that kicked off U.S. involvement in World War II. A series of memorials in 2011 are located at the spots where crucial ships sank that day on the southern side of the island, just to the west of the capital city Honolulu. The Battleship USS Missouri was commissioned some years after the Pearl Harbor attack, in 1944, and served against the Japanese in Jima, Kyushu and Okinawa among others. It was the ship where Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Daily tours usher visitors through the USS Missouri Memorial, paying tribute to the battleship's role in the success of the Allied Powers.

The USS Missouri Memorial did not start taking shape until the ship finished service in 1992. Nicknamed "Mighty Mo," the ship and its crew had just finished a tour of duty during Operation Desert Shield/Storm, which was its final campaign. A few years later, a nonprofit organization called the USS Missouri Memorial Association started gathering support for the ship to be permanently stationed at the Pearl Harbor location of several museums commemorating the Japanese attack. In four years, the group accomplished this feat.

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It is not free to tour the USS Missouri Memorial. In September 2011 it costs $20 (USD) for adults and $10 (USD) for children to enter the site. Tours may include a full review of the battle stations or an idea of what everyday life was like aboard ship.

This floating museum became part of a larger monument to mark the Pearl Harbor attack. The USS Missouri Memorial is docked on the northern side of Ford Island, directly in the middle of the harbor. Also at Ford Island are the Pacific Aviation Museum and the non-floating USS Oklahoma Memorial.

Off the island, on the shore of Oahu near Aloha Stadium, are two other Pearl Harbor memorials: the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and the USS Arizona Memorial. Visitors to this latter park explore on the shore and then are ushered by boat to the place in the middle of the adjacent channel where the USS Arizona lies underwater. This display lets visitors see down into the water to view parts of the sunken ship, where 1,777 of its crew died. The USS Arizona site is the only in this cluster of memorials that offers free, taxpayer-supported admission.

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