Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee
PEARL HARBOR — After taking a year off due to the Mighty Mo’s 2009 drydocking, the Battleship Missouri Veterans Day Sunset Ceremony returns this month, featuring Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, the state of Hawaii Adjutant General, as its keynote speaker.
Free and open to the public with reservations, the ceremony will be held on Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11, from 4:45-5:45 p.m., on the ship’s fantail. To make reservations, call (808) 455-1600 ext. 222 or visit ussmissouri.org.
The event is renowned for the striking a capella guest performances of The Sounds of Aloha Chorus, a 50-member barbershop chorus that provides powerful renditions of “Hawai‘i Pono‘i,” “God Bless America” and — a Veterans Day favorite — the “Armed Forces Medley,” among others. Additional ceremonial elements include music by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, parade of Colors, Echo Taps and a rifle volley salute.
Lee serves as director of a diverse organization, which encompasses the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard, the state Civil Defense, the state Office of Veterans Services, and the Youth Challenge Academy, a residential mentorship program for at-risk youth. In addition, he acts as the governor’s advisor on homeland security issues.
Veterans Day is an annual U.S. Federal holiday honoring military veterans. It is observed on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. Major hostilities of WWI were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
For those wishing to attend but do not have Department of Defense vehicle access to Ford Island, open public drive-on access has been granted from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Free shuttle bus service will also be available between 3:45 and 4:45 p.m. from the Missouri’s shuttle boarding station at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center. Shuttle bus service will also provide return transportation.
Battleship Missouri Memorial, located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the day of infamy that saw the sinking of USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and ends with Imperial Japan’s unconditional surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Following an astounding career that spans five decades and three wars, from World War II to the Korean conflict to the Liberation of Kuwait, the “Mighty Mo” was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which operates the battleship as a historic attraction and memorial. The association oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants and the generosity of donors.