December 7th, 1941 was, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt put it, “A date which will live in infamy.” Lost at Pearl Harbor that day were over 3,400 men, WWII heroes – 1,177 of who were on the U.S.S. Arizona, one of the many ships sunk by the Japanese.
On September 2nd, 1945, the Japanese formally surrendered on the U.S.S. Missouri. By then, about 2,000 Arizonans had died in the war.
This December 7th, 2013, the 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor , was chosen as the day to honor these men and women, along with all veterans of WWII, as Arizona dedicates its new World War II memorial at the Wesley Bolin Plaza in Downtown Phoenix.
The memorial was conceived by “a former worker of the state’s House of Representatives,” John Thomas. Mr. Thomas noted that these last-remaining gun-barrels – from the Arizona and the Missouri – might be sold for scrap. He contacted Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett with the idea. Secretary Bennett contacted the Navy’s Department of Inactive Ships, and managed to get the barrels shipped to Arizona.
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