USS Arizona Mall Memorial Sets Dec. 4 Date
The memorial is expected to be completed in time for the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which propelled the United States into World War II.
As the country approaches the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the University of Arizona is installing a new USS Arizona memorial designed as a full-scale outline of the famous ship's deck.
Bronze medallions inscribed with the names of the 1,177 sailors and Marines who lost their lives onboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, will be placed in a new memorial plaza in the center of the ship's outline, outside the open canyon walkway of the Student Union Memorial Center. The effect of the outline will be that of an aerial view of the ship's massive deck.
"The University of Arizona is proud of the many important events planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and I am so very pleased that we will highlight the construction currently underway on the UA Mall that creates a memorial to those who lost their lives on the USS Arizona and provides access to in-depth information about the attacks and the crew of the ship," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart.
"From our Student Union Memorial Center, redesigned to recognize the importance of the USS Arizona, to our tremendous artifacts on display at the Student Union and University Libraries' Special Collections, the UA is proud to remember those who served and sacrificed at Pearl Harbor, and this memorial will honor all veterans," Hart said.
The USS Arizona Mall Memorial is expected to be completed in time for a dedication event at 3 p.m. on Dec. 4 on the south side of the Student Union Memorial Center.
The memorial will help students and visitors alike to grasp the sheer size of the battleship, which was 597 feet long and 97 feet wide. The installation extends lengthwise, west to east, from Old Main to the cactus garden, called the Krutch Garden. The outline of the ship will be created by using a rubberized track material in the grass of the UA Mall and inlaid brick in the concrete in front of Old Main.
The design includes a brick walkway with curved walls containing the medallions, and a flagpole lining up directly with the Student Union Memorial Center tower that enshrines the bell once housed in the foremast of the USS Arizona.
"We have experienced so many incredible moments in planning for this memorial, including the fact that the full-scale outline fits perfectly in that space south of the Student Union," said Chuck Albanese, retired dean and professor of the UA College of Architecture, who has been involved in historic preservation in Tucson for decades.
Albanese was one of three Tucsonans responsible for bringing the project idea to Bob Smith, the UA's vice president for University Planning, Design and Operations.
"The Student Union houses the bell from the foremast of the ship, and when you extend a line straight south, the flagpole in the Mall Memorial is exactly where that bell was positioned on the ship," Albanese said.
The UA is a repository for artifacts from the USS Arizona, with University Libraries' Special Collections managing one of the largest archives of memorabilia in the world from the ship, which sunk at Pearl Harbor under Japanese aerial attack. The Student Union Memorial Center canyon is a multilevel cylindrical drum designed to represent the shape of the USS Arizona's superstructure. Many artifacts are displayed permanently in the USS Arizona Lounge in the Student Union.
Albanese, David Carter and Bill Westcott have raised $125,000 of $150,000 in private donations to fund the project. Carter has worked with Albanese on preservation projects, and Westcott lost his namesake uncle on the USS Arizona.
"We designed this memorial to honor all veterans with the intent that they would visit the site for many, many years to come," Albanese said.
Fundraising continues for the USS Arizona Mall Memorial, and donations can be made online at http://bit.ly/1EP2toH.
University of Arizona in the News