JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam commemorated the 71st Anniversary of the end of World War II during a ceremony at the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Friday, Sept. 2.
The war ended when Japan surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945, with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender thus ending the war in the Pacific in a humble ceremony aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
The remembrance ceremony today featured Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, former U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 1st congressional district, as the keynote speaker and Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Frederick "Fritz" Roegge as the guest speaker.
Both speakers noted the importance of standing on the USS Missouri, where others who signed the surrender document 71 years ago stood.
"Today, here in Pearl Harbor and aboard the USS Missouri, we have a singular vantage point from which we are able to survey visceral reminders of the complete cycle of the Second World War: its opening salvo, the seeds of eventual victory, and finally, the war's conclusion," Roegge said.
Roegge explained the importance of the submarine base in the fight during the war.
"Because our submarines were not struck, they were able to begin war patrols that carried the battle across the pacific and into Japanese home waters while the battle fleet was repaired."
"Our submariners did their deadly business very well - although submarines were only two per cent of our Navy, they sank 60% of all Japanese ships sunk during the war. But submariners paid the heavy price of the highest rate of casualties of any branch of service in the war."
Roegge concluded, "We owe and unpayable debt to that greatest generation of Americans who won the war and also won the peace; but perhaps their greatest legacy is the example of honor, courage and commitment that is now proudly carried forward and embodied in today's generation."
Hanabusa began her remarks celebrating the courageous acts of the men and women who fought and died during WWII.
"I would like to join Admiral Roegge and acknowledge the greatest generation . and they are the greatest generation represented here by people who have served on the USS Missouri and also the WWII Veterans that are still with us."
Hanabusa, a fourth-generation American and descendant of Japanese people on both sides of the conflict, described the terrible cost so many paid during the war.
"Every nation mourned its dead and welcomed its survivors. Young men and women, on both sides, sat wide eyed and prayed that they would be among those who made it home."
While the cost of war may leave many of those who fight in it uneager to return, history has shown more is needed to preserve peace.
"The irony of WWII was that it came barely generation after the end of a war we said would end all wars, said Hanabusa. "Civilized people around the world were convinced that the horrors that we now know as the 1st world war, we would never fight again."
Hanabusa said the only way to live up to the sacrifices the "greatest generation" made was to ensure we never see war again.
"So do not disappoint the greatest generation and the sacrifices they have all made. Let's honor them, remember them, and never forget what happen because if we ever forget we will find ourselves back in the same place."
"As we look to the future remember the lessons of WWII. The fact that we are here on the USS Missouri on a wonderful day and what it all means for us. It means that peace is still, and will always be, the ultimate form of diplomacy but we as a country must also recognize that it is with our allies that we will maintain that peace."
The ceremony ended with a moment of silence, a 21-gun salute, followed by taps.
For more news from the Pacific Submarine Force, visit www.csp.navy.mil.