US officials mark 70th anniversary of WWII's official end

AP News
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Posted: Sep 03, 2015 4:02 AM
US officials mark 70th anniversary of WWII's official end

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — U.S. officials and veterans gathered on a decommissioned battleship in Pearl Harbor on Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of World War II's end.

"It was not about retribution. Like today's ceremony, it was an acknowledgement that the shared losses of World War II vastly exceeded the immediate gains at the time," said Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told a crowd of several hundred gathered on the deck of the former USS Missouri.

The Missouri's decks are where Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Army Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu signed documents to formally surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. The USS Missouri was anchored in Tokyo Bay at the time.

Allied leaders including Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz also signed the surrender documents.

The ship is now a museum called the Battleship Missouri Memorial. It's moored at a spot overlooking where the USS Arizona sank during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

"These two iconic battleships represent America's bookends for history's most destructive war — a beginning and an end, a conflict and then peace," said Michael Carr, president and CEO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial, according to a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Carr noted that the event was being live-streamed so people around the world could "reflect on the day that launched a better future 70 years ago today."

Ray Morse, who was an 18-year-old sailor on board the Missouri 70 years ago, said he wouldn't miss the gathering "for anything."

"I always hope to see some of the guys from the ship," said Morse, of Huntington, West Virginia.