(Via Ho’okele News)
Pacific Historic Parks
HONOLULU—Pacific Historic Parks announced Aug. 11 that construction on the USS Arizona Memorial Shrine Room wall is scheduled to begin in September. The project starts the second phase of a three-part restoration that began in 2012.
Weather exposure and saltwater spray have taken a toll on the Shrine Room wall, which lists the names of the men who died aboard the USS Arizona. The original wall was replaced in 1984 but has since become stained and partially eroded in areas.
“Viewing the Shrine Room wall is one of the most impactful experiences in Pearl Harbor. It is the collective headstone to the USS Arizona crew who sacrificed their lives for their country. Keeping the wall in good condition is elemental to what we must do as stewards of the memorial,” said Paul DePrey, superintendent, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, National Park Service.
Pacific Historic Parks, a nonprofit cooperating association of the National Park Service at WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, has been leading the effort to restore the USS Arizona Memorial, working with public and private entities to collect the approximately $750,000 needed to complete the repairs.
AMVETS has pledged to raise the necessary funds to replace the Shrine Room wall. Since the late 1950s, the veterans service organization has raised more than $450,000 to replace the inscribed marble panels and refurbish the memorial.
“We are honored to once again help restore and preserve the memorial,” said John Mitchell Jr., national commander of AMVETS.
“It is our duty and solemn vow as keepers of the wall to never forget those who fought and died. The current mission to raise funds was an opportunity to take on our largest-ever National Commander’s Project—USS Arizona Forever Fund. Our members really came through and we achieved our goal of $343,000,” Mitchell said.
The Shrine Room wall will be replaced with 138 Olympian white marble panels mined from a quarry in Vermont. Construction is expected to last for two months. The wall will be rededicated on Veterans Day 2014. Boat tours to the USS Arizona Memorial will continue throughout the project.
“We are proud to work with the National Park Service, AMVETS and Hawk Contracting Group to ensure that the USS Arizona Memorial is protected and preserved for future generations. The engravers are currently inscribing the marble and we are excited to see the results,” said Gene Caliwag, president and CEO, Pacific Historic Parks.
PHP awarded a contract to Hawk Contracting Group to replace the wall in March 2014. The company, which is currently overseeing the engraving of the marble, previously completed work on the USS Arizona Memorial during phase one of the restoration, which concluded in November 2012.
Phase one projects included replacing the skylights, railings and doors; repainting the interior and exterior of the monument; installing LED light fixtures; and repairing concrete irregularities.
During phase three, the memorial’s terrazzo flooring will be replaced.
For more information about the restoration of the USS Arizona Memorial and to donate, visit http://www.pacifichistoricparks.org.