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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA hosts annual USS Arizona memorial

The UA’s annual memorial service for the USS Arizona was held in Gallagher Theater yesterday. This year marks the 68th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on the Navy base at Pearl Harbor, and the UA’s 56th memorial service.

“”They’re all pretty special because we’re paying a little homage to our shipmates and marines that perished that day.”” said survivor Donald Stratton, a retired first class Navy seaman, about the memorial services.

The service included music and poetry readings remembering the attack and patriotic songs played by the Sahuarita High School marching band.

Retired Navy Capt. Edward Alexander, also a retired UA mathematics professor, gave the memorial address. Alexander recapped the relations between the Americans and the Japanese leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. He stressed that everyone must remember the incident so that it will never happen again, in the same way that people openly commemorate the Holocaust to prevent a similar occurrence.

“”They’re always on the back of our mind and we’re always thinking about them,”” Stratton said about his shipmates.

Survivors of the USS Arizona totaled 335. Seven of the survivors were among the sponsors of the event.

Glenn Lane, a retired Navy air crewman, was 23 at the time of the attack. “”When the ship blew up … I had a fire hose in my hand and I was blown clear off the ship. My first recollection of being alive was, ‘I’m in the water trying to get to the surface,’ I got to the surface and … there was oil, hard to swim,”” Lane said.

Due to the oil-coated water, fire spread and severe burns were common among the wounded.

“”The big bomb hit … the big fireball went up about 7 or 800 feet … . I got burned about 65 percent of my body,”” Stratton said.

He said that while in recovery, four crewmen would pick him up and place him in a tub of saltwater every day to help heal his burns.

“”First couple times were pretty tough but after that I kind of looked forward to it,”” Stratton said.

Survivor Lauren Bruner was also severely burned during the attack.

“”After the Arizona, I spent seven months in the hospital recuperating, growing new skins,”” said Bruner, who joined the Navy in 1938, right out of high school.

The UA’s student union was remodeled to abstractly represent the original USS Arizona. It houses various memorials to the ship, including one of the two original bells, brought to the school by a UA alumnus, as well as a ship mast containing all of the dog tags from the men onboard the ship.

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