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Local students learn about USS Arizona through replica presentation


Elizabeth Medora


NEW RIVER – New River Elementary students got an up-close history lesson last Friday when local veteran Wanda Sartain brought a USS Arizona replica to the school.

“This replica represents a classic ship that is no longer in service,” explained Sartain. She shared the history of the USS Arizona with students, noting that the famous ship was under construction 100 years ago.

The USS Arizona was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Sartain spoke about the tremendous loss of life that day and the ensuing cry of “Remember the Arizona!” during World War II.

Sartain is a Navy veteran, as is her daughter Wendy Ellis, who is a sixth grade teacher at New River Elementary. Ellis’ grandfather, a WWII veteran, also attended the USS Arizona replica presentation on Friday.

The USS Arizona replica was originally built over 30 years ago by a man who witnessed the Pearl Harbor attack and wanted to commemorate the lives lost that day. The replica was rebuilt 10 years ago by Sartain’s family and several friends.

Sartain encouraged students to remember and honor those who have served in the military on Veterans Day and every day.

Veterans are honored on Veterans Day and every day because, as the inscription on the USS Arizona states, “Freedom is not free! Just ask a veteran!”