Battleship Cove’s service on the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack was more than a fleeting observance. The Japanese assault from above that pulled the United States into World War II is remembered daily at the waterfront museum.
A new exhibit on the second deck of the USS Massachusetts is a testament to that commitment.
“Avenge Pearl Harbor!” features photographs from the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the propaganda posters produced in response to, or inspired by, the photos. The posters feature strong elements of American pride and were produced to push the American people to buy war bonds, enlist and become heroes in the war against the Axis, according to the museum.
The exhibit, organized by Battleship Cove Curator of Historic Collections Liz York, runs through Feb. 1 and can be viewed during normal business hours.
It opened Dec. 7, as community members gathered on the ship to remember the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt said would “live in infamy.”
“Our responsibility today is to never forget those stories, those passions, those lives,” Battleship Cove President Carl Sawejko said during a solemn ceremony. “Every single one of them is so very important.”
For many years, local Pearl Harbor survivors were honored guests at the event, which concludes with the casting of a memorial wreath off the ship and the playing of taps. Their absence underscores the reality that the number of World War II veterans — and especially Pearl Harbor survivors — is rapidly declining.
Sawejko noted the absence of Pearl Harbor survivor Manny Martin of Westport, “who was here diligently … to share his stories with us, his memories and those special moments all of us should never forget as American citizens.” Martin died in 2012 at 90 years old.
Rev. Dr. Robert Lawrence, a longtime Westport resident who serves at Battleship Cove vice president, delivered the invocation and benediction at Pearl Harbor on the 75th anniversary, according to Sawejko. A handful of survivors attended.
Master Chief Petty Officer Craig Cole of the U.S. Naval War College, guest speaker at the Fall River event, said teaching young people about Pearl Harbor is “critical” to the survival of veterans’ stories and, more importantly, the lessons of those stories.
“The Navy and the will continue to build heroism and a commitment to freedom that was demonstrated so vibrantly, so vividly and so often 75 years ago today,” he said.
More information on the new exhibit is available by calling (508) 678-1100 (ext. 101).