This January, I had the chance to go to Hawaii to attend the 75th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Missouri battleship — a once in a lifetime opportunity to convey a personal “thank you” on behalf of the Capital City for our namesake ship.
The sunshine, palm trees, and warm welcome from members of the USS Jefferson City and USS Missouri submarines, along with beautiful Hawaiian leis from both, were an instant connection, an aloha to our city and our state that I was privileged to wear.
I was joined by Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe on this incredible journey, along with his wife and a great ambassador to our city, Claudia Kehoe. We visited the base, and upon seeing the signs that read “Pearl Harbor,” could not help but think of the many sacrifices made for our country.
Seeing “Jefferson City” on the hats, nameplates, and uniforms of crew of the USS Missouri and USS Jefferson City, we felt a great sense of pride. Wow! How lucky we are to have submarines named for not only our state but also the Capital City!
Seeing the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor, I was immediately taken by the grand size. Ten stories tall, three football fields long, not to mention the sheer number of cannons — it was greater than I ever imagined. Looking at the power and the history, all still intact after 75 years of protecting and defending, was truly incredible.
A stunning sunrise broke the gray clouds, and the sailors lined along the deck pointed out the lights of the USS Jefferson City across the bay, and it took my breath away.
The ceremony highlighted the stories and history of the past 75 years. Lieutenant Governor Kehoe spoke of this significance and gave a heartfelt thanks. Hearing him speak of a veteran, a friend who shared stories of the war and the time when the Mighty MO provided cover to those serving in Korea, I was overwhelmed with emotion.
We watched the flag fly on the ship while the Navy band played a proud rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Anchors Aweigh.” After the ceremony, we were treated to a tour of the great battleship.
Standing in the very spot where others stood when the treaty was signed to end WWII and hearing the stories of compassion and bravery gave me an even stronger appreciation for those who have served our great country!
We were lucky enough to be able to tour the USS Texas submarine, as the USS Missouri is in dry dock. The Texas is the same class submarine, so it gave us an idea of what life was like on the Missouri. Once you climb down the hatch, you become a part of a city under the sea, where each mission is handled with precision and control in quarters so tight that even a small person like me could hardly move around.
The Battleship Missouri is now a living museum, and I highly recommend visiting and learning about its extensive history. If you can’t make a trip but are still interested, you can view the lieutenant governor’s speech at Battleship Missouri Memorial on Facebook or stop by City Hall and peek at the display case filled with submarine artifacts.
We’re fortunate to have a strong bond with both of our submarines. Crew members visit, and we get to show them the Show-Me State! We also have a city commission to uphold our continued appreciation of those serving on our namesake.
God Bless America! #SupportOurTroops