Admiral Philip S. Davidson

Address at the 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Commemoration Ceremony

delivered 2 September 2020, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii

Audio mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Aloha and good morning. I would like to begin by thanking all the members of the 75th World War II Commemoration Committee for safely bringing these phenomenal events together in this [COVID-19] environment.

We are honored today to have the Secretary of Defense here with us to help commemorate the occasion, as well as his wife, Leah. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We're grateful that you could both be here today.

I'd like to thank General Milley for joining us virtually and for his moving remarks.

And of course, thank you, Governor Ige, for your inspiring words. They underscore the significance of the State of Hawaii’s magnificent relationship with our Armed Forces.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and our Allied victory in the Pacific, we remain forever indebted to our World War II veterans. They helped defend the world from tyranny.

We are deeply honored that those from Hawaii, some of those very same veterans, could join us today in person, with many more joining us virtually around the globe. And indeed, the rest of them are here with us in spirit on the historic deck of the USS Missouri.

This battleship, both signal of strength and symbol of peace, owes much of its legacy to the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

It was hardly a surprise when President Truman selected the USS Missouri as the formal site to officially end the war.

After all, the proud Missouri-native’s only child (Margaret) served as this ship’s sponsor, and President Truman spoke at this ship’s christening and also attended her commissioning.

Well, one can only imagine how President Truman hoped the pride and joy of his home state would live on in the hearts and minds of Americans for years to come.

And I mention this for two important reasons:

First, to highlight that the Mighty Mo -- this iconic American museum -- today is the epitome of the “Arsenal of Democracy” that willed us to victory. In part honoring the men and women of our Greatest Generation who supported the war effort in factories and shipyards across the country.

And of course the second reason is to provide a clear reminder of how the history of September 2nd, 1945, lives on.

September 2nd is the day that the United States and our Allies turned tragedy into triumph, violence into victory, fighting into freedom, loss into liberty, and peril into peace.1

A day that marks the very beginning of the rules-based international order -- an order responsible for some 75 years of peace, prosperity, and security that helped not only to liberate hundreds of millions, but to lift billions out of poverty, and all to a level of prosperity previously unseen in human history.

Certainly, the post-war period of regional peace and stability must not be taken for granted.

Today, the world faces great challenges. You heard Governor Ige talk about the coronavirus pandemic.

But, as well, an emboldened Communist Party of China seeks to change the world to one in which Chinese national power is more important than international law. Beijing is using a whole-of-party approach to coerce, to corrupt, and to contest2 the rules-based international order.

Today, as we address the strategic threat of China and the other security challenges throughout the Indo-Pacific region, the memory of our Greatest Generation lives on. It lives on in our Soldiers, our Sailors, our Airmen, our Marines, and our Coast Guardsmen today.

Each and every day, we remember our World War II heroes, and we pay tribute to them by continuing to defend the values of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, to keep America, our allies, and partners free from tyranny, and [to] defend our shared values -- our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


  Pictured WWII Veterans: Refugio Alcon,
Victor Arreola, Oscar Bangui, Walter Ching, Jack DeTour, Paul Newman, Wendell Newman, Ted Richardson, Arthur Shak, Lamert Wai.

May God bless all the veterans of World War II, the men and women of the Armed Forces, the Great State Hawaii, and indeed, may God bless the United States of America.

Thank you.

1 Catalogued (non-adjacent) alliteration

2 Combo rhetorical figure including alliteration, anaphora, and parallelism

See also: Official Commemoration Ceremony Program.pdf

Original Text Source:

Original Audio, Video, Images of Veterans Source:

Original Image of USS Missouri Source:

Audio Note: AR-XE = American Rhetoric Extreme Enhancement

Video Note: The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Page Updated: 9/9/20

U.S. Copyright Status: Text = Public domain. Audio = Property of Video and Images of WWII Veterans = Public domain (with use subject to these terms). Image of USS Missouri = Public domain.
































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