Work is scheduled to begin next month to replace the Shrine Room wall on the USS Arizona Memorial.
The project kicks off the second phase of a three-part restoration that began in 2012.
Weather exposure and saltwater spray have taken a toll on the Shrine Room wall, which lists the names of the men who died aboard the USS Arizona. The original wall was replaced in 1984, but has since become stained and partially eroded in areas.
The Shrine Room wall will be replaced with 138 Olympian White marble panels mined from a quarry in Vermont. Construction is expected to last for two months and the wall will be rededicated on Veterans Day (November 11), 2014.
Boat tours to the USS Arizona Memorial will continue throughout the project.
“Viewing the Shrine Room wall is one of the most impactful experiences in Pearl Harbor. It is the collective headstone to the USS Arizona crew who sacrificed their lives for their country. Keeping the wall in good condition is elemental to what we must do as stewards of the memorial,” said Paul DePrey, Superintendent, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, National Park Service.
Phase one projects included replacing the skylights, railings and doors; repainting the interior and exterior of the monument; installing LED light fixtures; and repairing concrete irregularities.
During phase three, the memorial’s terrazzo flooring will be replaced.
Pacific Historic Parks, a non-profit cooperating association of the National Park Service at WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, has been leading the effort to restore the USS Arizona Memorial, working with public and private entities to collect the approximately $750,000 needed to complete the repairs.
AMVETS has pledged to raise the necessary funds to replace the Shrine Room wall. Since the late 1950s, the veterans service organization has raised more than $450,000 to replace the inscribed marble panels and refurbish the memorial.
“We are honored to once again help restore and preserve the memorial,” said John Mitchell, Jr., National Commander of AMVETS. “It is our duty and solemn vow as keepers of the wall to never forget those who fought and died. The current mission to raise funds was an opportunity to take on our largest-ever National Commander’s Project—USS Arizona Forever Fund. Our members really came through and we achieved our goal of $343,000.”
“We are proud to work with the National Park Service, AMVETS and Hawk Contracting Group to ensure that the USS Arizona Memorial is protected and preserved for future generations. The engravers are currently inscribing the marble and we are excited to see the results,” said Gene Caliwag, President and CEO, Pacific Historic Parks.
Click here for more information about the restoration of the USS Arizona Memorial and to donate.