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USS Arizona Memorial celebrates 50th anniversary

Published On: May 27 2012 05:44:20 PM HST

The USS Arizona Memorial organization holds a ceremony marking the monument's 50th anniversary.

HONOLULU -

It is a short ferry ride from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to the USS Arizona Memorial but it is a crossing of waters deep in history.

On December 7th, 1941, an 18-year-old Al Rodrigues stood at the harbor's mouth, shooting his rifle at Japanese fighter planes.

"This is where we started and this is where we are going to end it I hope," said Rodrigues.

Rodrigues, 92, hopes future generations will carry on the torch of remembrance.

"They should honor the memories of my generation, so they can pass on to future generations; the good thing the men did to preserve our freedom," said Rodrigues.

A ceremony onboard the USS Arizona Memorial united veterans of war with active service men and women.

Local dignitaries, who spoke, expressed gratitude to those who 50 years ago made the dream of building a memorial, a reality.

"I am truly very grateful for all that has happened and for the 50th anniversary of this occasion has very deep and profound meaning," said former Hawaii governor George Ariyoshi.

"It is the embodiment of dignity and hope. We all owe tremendous debt to those who possessed the vision and commitment to create this memorial," said US Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.

In a quiet moment, US Navy sailors presented the American Flag, as those who fought bravely for our freedom, saluted the star and stripes.
A half a century later, there is a monument symbolizing our country's commitment to never forget the lives lost in the wake.

The USS Arizona Memorial is now collecting donations to fund much needed repairs.

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