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Week of September 2nd, 2020 Update

IOWA Family:

We are entering the last week of what in past years would be considered our busy season. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we would have hosted two significant event this coming week. We would have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII during the fifth annual LA Fleet Week. Unfortunately we will be unable to celebrate in-person, but we refuse to forget the significance of this coming week.

This week holds significant personal meaning for me. Prior to the ship opening in Los Angeles and the annual Fleet Week celebration, I attended the annual USS Missouri reunion with my grandfather during the same week. My grandfather was a battleship sailor, having served aboard USS Tennessee and USS Missouri. He joined the Missouri at New York Navy Shipyard in 1943 as a Water Tender First Class and was part of the commissioning crew that sailed with her from shakedown to the end of the war. He was present during the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd, 1945 and quickly returned home to his family after the war.

After visiting “his ship” in 2000, I realized how impactful his service aboard was to his life and how healing it was for him to return “home” after 55 years. This realization was what drove me to join the team to save the IOWA. It continues to remain an influential factor today. I can say without a doubt, that I wouldn’t be a part of the IOWA or LA Fleet Week team today if it wasn’t for this experience.

Please join us on Wednesday, September 2nd to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. We will begin live streaming the event from the Battleship Missouri on Facebook at 11:30am. At 12:30pm, the Commemorative Air Force will be performing a Victory Flight throughout the South Bay and over the Battleship IOWA. Our crew will render a gun salute at 1:30pm from portside mount 56. The IOWA will be open for outdoor tours beginning at 10:00am and we invite you to celebrate the end of WWII from the decks of the IOWA.

Battleship IOWA VJ Day kiss statue

On Friday, September 4th, LA Fleet Week will begin a four day virtual event via the LA Fleet Week social media channels. Virtual events include active Navy ship tours, Navy band concerts, and speakers showing their support for this incredible event. We truly appreciate the incredible partnership that makes 2020 Virtual LA Fleet Week possible. Fleet Week wouldn’t be possible without our sea services, the City and Port of Los Angeles, LA Fleet Week Foundation, Bob Hope USO, Battleship IOWA and dedicated sponsors such as Marathon Petroleum.

It will be difficult not gathering in-person this year. LA Fleet Week is the IOWA’s biggest weekend for admissions, retail, and donations for the entire year. Labor Day weekend makes it possible for the Battleship IOWA to continue offering programs during the slow season with limited admissions and support. There is no doubt that 2020 will be our most challenging yet!

We are incredibly thankful for your continued support and I am hesitant to keep on asking for your support. Unfortunately, these circumstances can only be equated to a once-in-lifetime event which requires us to be creative, communicative, nimble, and reliant on support to simply keep the IOWA dream alive.

The museum sector has a LONG way towards recovery. Museums have a close connection to students being in classrooms and tourists traveling the world. While many areas throughout the United States have reopened and are well on the way to recovery, Los Angeles continues to be in the early phases of reopening.

Please continue supporting us as we go into our slow season.  Consider setting up a recurring gift, one-time major gift, or sponsoring one of our critical needs such as power, paint, or staff position.

Thank you for all that you do.  Our best wishes for a safe and memorable week!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

Please donate to our Operation Crush COVID campaign by clicking here.

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Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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