Archaeologist talks USS Arizona, memorial on UA campus

Published: Sep. 14, 2016 at 12:27 AM MST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2016 at 2:00 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Signs alert anyone walking across the University of Arizona mall that a memorial to the USS Arizona is in the works.

While construction has begun, an underwater archaeologist is sharing his research and preservation efforts on the sunken battleship with the public.

Dr. Jim Delgado spoke to a crowd gathered at the UA Special Collections exhibit called "The Life and Legacy of the USS Arizona." He was part of the team that helped to designate the ship and its surrounding area Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark.

"It's not just big names or big events," he said. "What it really is, is the story of people. In particular, not just the 1,177 who died, but the 554 who lived; as well as everybody who had ever served on that ship, who forever would carry forth that name in their heart; as well as a state that I think still remembers them."

The USS Arizona brought pride to the state, according to Delgado. The pride can be seen in the letters, photos and other pieces of history that detail every decade that the battleship and its crew served the United States. Many of those items are currently on display at the UA Special Collections exhibit.

The memorial set for the mall on UA's campus will feature individual markings with the names of the men who served aboard the USS Arizona. Delgado said remembering those names makes for a strong connection between the university community and the men who died thousands of miles away.

"Today on the bottom, what sits there is still, not just the community that was, but it's the tomb for so many of those men," he said. "And so those names at the memorial will resonate I think and make that point."

An update on the progress of the memorial and a potential timeline for the project are expected later this week, according to a spokeswoman for the university.

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