Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley Crewmembers ‘Let Freedom Ring’

HONOLULU — Two Coast Guardsmen from the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley joined World War II survivors to “Let Freedom Ring” July 4 at the U.S.S. Arizona National Memorial Park at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

In 1963, an act of Congress officially authorized the “Let Freedom Ring” National Bell ringing Ceremony. The law says it is fitting and appropriate to ring bells in honor of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. A number of ceremonies are held in various locations across the United States on our Independence Day. Participants in the ceremony at Peal Harbor formed a semi-circle around the bell and each member rang the Arizona Memorial Bell.

“The ceremony was the most patriotic experience I’ve participated in,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Everett Ryan Craven.

The ceremony featured an individual for each of the original 13 states, and each member rang the bell once. Chief Craven rang the bell for his home state of Virginia and Boatswain’s Mate Third Class Rebecca Ann Knudsen rang the bell for the state of Massachusetts. Other active duty military and survivors from World War II also had a hand in the occasion and rang the bell for the remaining states.

“It was an honor to be standing in the same space as the survivors,” said Petty Officer Knudsen, of her participation in the event at hallowed Arizona Memorial, one of the top three tourist destinations in Hawaii.

Skip Wheeler, the Arizona Memorial Park Director, invited the Coast Guardsmen to represent their service in the occasion. Both Chief Craven and Petty Officer Knudsen volunteered to attend the event during their free time and were joined by participants from the other four armed services.

Coincidentally, the Alex Haley and the U.S.S. Arizona share the same hull numbers — 39. The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley is home ported in Kodiak, Alaska, and is visiting Hawaii for Tailored Annual Cutter Training (TACT) or evaluation training for drills and exercises. The exercises include fire and flooding drills but the ship’s crew conducts numerous other tasks to ensure crew readiness.

The Alex Haley could remain in Hawaii for several more weeks.

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