The battleship was packed with U.S. sailors eager to see the end of World War II when Japanese military leaders climbed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2 , 1945. On Wednesday, the 75th anniversary of the surrender, due to the world’s new war against the coronavirus, some of those same men who served the United States were unable to return to the Missouri at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
One of them was Jerry Pedersen, 95, who watched history unfold as a youthful Marine. He had to watch a livestream of the ceremony from home instead of on the decks of the battleship as planned, along with his comrades who live in the mainland USA. “We honor the legacy of those who came before us and recommit ourselves to defending today’s international rules and norms so that the road is safer and is better for generations yet to come,” Esper said. “The United States’ commitment to the role today is the same one we made to the freedom-loving people of the world in 1941 – that we will remain ready to fight any foe and defend any friend.”
The U.S. entered the war following a 7 Dec. 1941 attack by Japanese warplanes on Pearl Harbor. Thousands of service members have been killed and wounded, about half of them dying on the floating museum of the USS Arizona, which is still in Pearl Harbor next to the USS Missouri Memorial. Four years later, after massive losses on both sides, including dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese indicated that they would surrender on Aug. 15, then on Sept. 2 they met with Allied forces aboard the Missouri to sign the Surrender Instrument.