The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), located near Scottsdale, Arizona, has announced the public opening of the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River on February 22, 2020.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River honors the brave individuals that served aboard the USS Arizona that sank on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor. It pays tribute to, and recognizes the individuals aboard the ship that day; sharing their stories, their efforts and their sacrifice.
The Salt River Indian Community became the recipient of a large part of the superstructure of the USS Arizona (BB-39), identified as the original Boat House, and built the Gardens around it.
The Boat House relic was part of the original memorial built at Pearl Harbor in 1951 and is the largest and only piece ever given to a tribal community.
“It is a great honor that the land of the O’odham (Pima) and Piipaash (Maricopa) will be the final resting place and home to the Boat House relic of the USS Arizona,” said Martin Harvier, President, SRPMIC. “The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River as a whole, will honor the brave soldiers who were aboard the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and all military veterans who have served our great country.“
In 2007, an American flag flown over the USS Arizona Memorial was awarded to the SRPMIC and the American Legion Bushmaster Post 114.
Today, it is kept at the American Legion Bushmaster post with an annual “Breathing of the Flag Ceremony” that takes place during the SRPMIC Pearl Harbor Day event as a fine tribute to all soldiers.
The honor of receiving a retired flag started a journey that will forever change the landscape of SRPMIC and Arizona.
The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River spans the exact length and width of the USS Arizona with over 1,500 commemorative columns, outlining the actual perimeter of the USS Arizona. The project extends across the entry drive of Salt River Fields to the north and juts into the lake on the south.
Each column is representative of a life aboard the ship that day. In addition, there are gaps within the column outline representing an individual who survived the attack.
As the day ends, each column will subtly glow with light, transforming the memorial at night representing each individual as a light and that their light will continue to go on and stand through the test of time.
The Gardens will be open daily from dawn until dusk and is open to the public. The Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community is proud to honor all Veterans and takes pride in sharing the stories of some of those aboard the USS Arizona at the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River.
The public opening of the Gardens will coincide with Spring Training Opening Day at Salt River Fields, which will also be Veterans Appreciation Day at the Fields.