By MCSA Rose Forest, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii
Visitors of the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum had an opportunity to see history re-enacted on Feb. 2 during Living History Day on Ford Island, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The day was, in part, a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Battleship Missouri’s launch along with aviation history at the Pacific Aviation Museum.
The Battleship Missouri (BB 63) was launched Jan. 29, 1944 and was the site of the signing of the Terms of Surrender by Japan to end World War II.
“Living History Day is a celebration of all things historical,” said Josh Stutz, coordinator, education department, Battleship Missouri Memorial. “It does-n’t all have to do with the Battleship Missouri. A lot of it does, but we also have different pieces from the Civil War, World War II, up through the Gulf War that we have acted out by our reenactors and even up through today with our active duty military.”
Visitors to the Pacific Aviation Museum interacted with costumed interpreters who told the story of the Civil War, World War II, the Gulf War and the Vietnam era plus Pan Am (Pan American World Airways) flight and command veterans Amelia Earhart, Rosie the Riveter and other figures from history.
Historical characters, musical performances, swing dance demonstrations, hands-on activities, and film screenings were among the events.
“This is the second Living History Day that we have done, and we are glad that the Missouri wanted to partner with us and so we have taken it in two different directions,” said April Emerson, volunteer who also dressed as Rosie.
“They have been concentrating on their anniversary and the history going along with that, and then here at the museum we focused in on Pacific aviation history.”
Thousands attended the event, including many children who were able to learn about history and meet people who have helped shape it.
“There is nothing like seeing a child and how wide their eyes get when they can jump in a helicopter or they can don a flight suit or they can talk to a Pan Am stewardess or they can talk to one of our vets,” said Emerson.
“And what really gets me is when I see kids, that excitement on their face, and their parent coming up behind them and sharing that story of their own. This kind of event in this kind of museum gives parents and children or grandparents and grandchildren an opportunity, like a bridge, to share the stories that may not be shared every day.”
The Pacific Aviation Museum and the Battleship Missouri Memorial showcase the important role of the United States military’s history with emphasis on World War II.