Sixty-nine years ago today, World War II came to an end aboard the USS Missouri.
At 9:02 a.m., General Douglas MacArthur brought representatives from 10 allied nations together aboard the “Mighty Mo” to witness Japan’s signing of the Instrument of Surrender.
On Tuesday, military leaders, service personnel, elected officials, community members and WWII veterans gathered on the Battleship Missouri for a ceremony that included musical tributes and a 21-gun salute.
“This is a special day to honor the service and sacrifice of all those who fought to protect our lives and liberty in World War II, and those who continue to do so today,” said Tim Guard, chairman of the board for the USS Missouri Memorial Association, caretaker of the Battleship Missouri Memorial.
Edwin Ogonowski was on the ship from day one and returned to the very spot he manned all those years ago, dodging bullets and kamikaze pilots.
“I remember a kamikaze pilot hitting the ship. I was about a hundred yards away when he hit us,” Ogonowski said. “I’m so excited (to be here). It brings lots of memories. The members I lost, it’s sadness, but I enjoyed every bit of my Navy career aboard this ship.”
Ogonowski flew in from Chicago to attend Tuesday’s ceremony. He and other WWII veterans were honored for their service.
After the ceremony, the ship’s newly renovated Wardroom was unveiled.
The renovation was part of a long-term restoration project of officers’ living quarters which also included the transformation of 13 immaculate, “inspection-ready” staterooms.
Visitors can now see first-hand where the Missouri’s officers slept, showered, dined and strategized.