Los Angeles Veterans Day Commemoration Aboard the USS Iowa

By Robin Kemker, Epoch Times
November 12, 2014 11:40 pm Last Updated: June 24, 2015 7:59 pm

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A special Veterans Day memorial program was held on the foredeck of the Battleship USS Iowa at the LA Waterfront, Nov. 11. Featuring a presentation of colors and concluding with a presentation of a ceremonial wreath and fireboat salute, the event was organized by Jonathan Williams, president and CEO of the Pacific Battleship Center, and veteran Michael McEnteggart, who served on USS Iowa.

“We believe it is important to honor the men and women who have served in the military and we do so proudly. Battleship Iowa stands as an iconic, intangible link to our military history here in the Los Angeles area. We are a beacon for generations of veterans who defended this great nation from WWII to the present,” said Williams. 

This year’s commemoration was very short, unlike last year, when many speakers shared their thoughts. 

Today, one speaker shared his experience of carrying the all-too-common veteran’s malady, PTSD. The audience was silent as he spoke, and then responded with overwhelming support at the end of his comments. 

This event is part of Battleship Iowa Remembers, a series of events and celebrations presented by the Pacific Battleship Center (PBC) aboard the iconic ship. This is part of PBC’s overall mission to “Celebrate the American Spirit” every day at Battleship Iowa, by sharing the accomplishments and sacrifices of American patriots and engaging visitors in unique and exciting ways that bring the ship to life by connecting the past with the future.

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day—a common misunderstanding, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May) honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle, while Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Adventure Through History

The battleship is manned by a nonprofit for the benefit of the public in understanding these ships, which at one time were the most powerful defenses the United States had on the seas. 

A tour on board takes you on a memorable journey through World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War, following in footsteps of sailors who lived on the most powerful warship built at that time. Visitors tour six decks of wood and steel and numerous exhibits on the battleship, which hosted three U.S. Presidents during her service as a symbol of democracy. The USS Iowa is located at the LA Waterfront, former home to the U.S. Navy Battleship fleet and an area rich in maritime history.

With today’s satellite and missile systems, battleships are too large and visible for military action. The USS Iowa was the last battleship to be retired, in 1960.

Battleship Iowa is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. For more information on the attraction, go to www.pacificbattleship.com.

What Are Your Thoughts About Veterans?

In a Veteran’s Day interview last year, Mark, a non-veteran, shared his feelings about veterans with the Epoch Times: “I think we should celebrate veterans every day of the year. They put their lives on the line for our country, leaving families behind, leaving their lives behind, leaving their careers and everything else to fight for this country, for what they believe in, whether we believe in what’s going on in Middle-east or whatnot, these guys have a total conviction that they’re doing what’s best for their country, and this is how they can serve their country.”

“A lot of people sit around and watch TV and say, ‘Oh we shouldn’t be there. Oh, what are they doing?’ What are they doing to help this other country?” said Mark.