Do not let history be erased by time

By Lu Cao.

Meeting USS Missouri

The first time I heard about the USS Missouri, all I knew was that it is a battleship with some incredible weapons. I “Googled” it and discovered that the Missouri had a significant role in history because of the Japanese surrender ceremony held on its decks at the end of World War II.
After I watched the YouTube video of its 16-inch guns being fired, I really wanted to see this legendary battleship. Sixty-five years after the surrender, its guns and decks were peaceful and silent. But there were many stories to be told.

Indeed, standing right next to the nine 16-inch guns, and the exact place where the Kamikaze attack took place, I could almost sense the heroism from that day. However, getting rid of the shadow of war, the Missouri became more like a truly a peaceful United States ship, not a war ship to me.  When the mighty and heroic feeling transferred to a feeling of pure peace, the Mighty Mo became more appealing to me.

What makes the Missouri so attractive? Some people may say that it played an important part in later 20th Century history, such as its role in the Gulf War. Certainly, most of the tourists were attracted by her legendary stories. But I think that what’s more important than the ship itself is the dedication of the people who work hard to maintain the Missouri, delve into it, and try to treat it as a witness of history to educate people.

People, history, time

I grew up in China, a country with a long, well-recorded history. Reading book by book of this long history makes me feel powerless. Once I read about a nationwide economic revolution that took place in 3,000 years ago and had continued for three decades, but there were three paragraphs to record it.  Next to this story was a photo of a small piece of rusty iron with a caption that said: “This iron was found in a construction field, and be confirmed as a measurement tool during that economic revolution.”  It really made me feel insignificant.

Over time, historical details are forgotten and even justice and injustice can be vague; but one thing will always be remembered: how an event influenced the later generations.  USS Missouri is maintained carefully as a witness of history, but it is hard to guarantee that it will be there thousands year later or become a piece of rusty iron.  However, in the future, if more people like those volunteers from in the USS Missouri Memorial Association really care about the history of the Missouri, the ship’s legacy will not become biased or forgotten.

Richard Costick, a volunteer in the USS Missouri memorial, said the Missouri could tell its real history to people, not the history written by the “winners” of the war. I think we truly understand the significance of Missouri from people like Rich, who work hard to find, diffuse, and save real history.  Even if the Missouri does not exist some day, these people would never allow its history to be erased by time.

watch?v=04vxNBbw0ccUSS Missouri slideshowUSS Missouri