Ahead of VJ Day's 75th Anniversary, Historical Foundation Renovates USS Missouri

Nov 18, 2019

The USS Missouri anchored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Credit AGrinberg / Flickr, Creative Commons

2020 marks the 75th anniversary for the end of World War II. As the world remembers the impact of the global conflict, a historical association works to renovate the ship where the war officially ended.

One of the greatest naval ships in American history has close ties to Missouri and bears its name:  the USS Missouri was the site for the formal surrender of the Japanese Empire on September 2nd, 1945.  And now, as the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII approaches, the battleship is undergoing renovations to mark the occasion.

Mike Carr, President and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, says when the association got the decommissioned USS Missouri from the US Navy in 1998, it was in bad shape.

“Our greatest enemy, of course is rust, and the ship can rust from both the outside in as well as the inside out,” Carr says.

Carr tells KSMU that workers are constantly inside the ship, battling humidity and oxidization of the historic craft.

Every September 2nd, the historical association holds a ceremony on the battleship in Hawaii to honor the end of the war, but next year, World War II veterans who were at the surrender will serve as guests of honor during the ceremony.

Carr says next year will likely be the last major anniversary where living witnesses of the surrender will participate in the ceremony aboard the Missouri.

He adds that the Missouri is among the most famous battleships in the world, and it served the United States in Iwo Jima, the Korean War, and the Gulf War in 1991. But he says it’s so well-known because it symbolizes lasting peace after a long war.

“When the worst conflict in the history of man ended on her decks, and by the way, began 75 years of friendship between Japan and the United States, which lasts to this day,” Carr explains.

The battleship’s ties to Missouri and historical legacy will be on display next year, with activities set up by the USS Missouri Memorial Association beginning in May. The anniversary ceremony will be held on September 2, 2020, on the decks of the Missouri, anchored in Pearl Harbor.