On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, sparking the beginning of World War II. Nearly six years later to the day, on Sept. 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, ending the deadly global conflict. Next week we celebrate the 65th anniversary of that momentous event.

On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, sparking the beginning of World War II. Nearly six years later to the day, on Sept. 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, ending the deadly global conflict. Next week we celebrate the 65th anniversary of that momentous event.

The USS Missouri wasn’t the first ship to bear our state’s name, but she is the most famous. The battleship “Mighty Mo” actually took to sea more than 100 years after the first USS Missouri was launched in 1841. Now, the USS Missouri’s legacy will continue with the new USS Missouri, a Virginia-class submarine commissioned July 31.

This 370-foot vessel houses a 132-member crew, which can launch Tomahawk land-attack missiles and Mark 48 advanced-capability torpedoes. The Virginia class of attack submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean, worldwide missions.

The sub’s famous predecessor was an Iowa-class battleship launched in 1944 at the height of World War II. At 58,000 tons, she was a formidable sight, designed for speed and firepower. The ship was part of the force that carried out attacks on Tokyo and provided firepower in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa but is most celebrated for being the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender.

Her firepower also was an asset a few years later in Korea as she defended U.S. land forces. In 1955, the ship was decommissioned and housed in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, but in 1986, she was recommissioned after being modernized and refurbished. The USS Missouri even participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The Mighty Mo’s final mission took place on Dec. 7, 1991, when she led a group of ships into Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the attack on Hawaii.

This famous ship, which once helped stop an empire bent on cruelty and world domination, now stands silent guard over the watery grave of the USS Arizona and many of the thousands of sailors who lost their lives during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. This is a fitting final resting place for a ship that served as the stage for the end of the deadliest conflict the world has ever seen.

Since the first USS Missouri set to sea, the brave spirit of the people of our state has sailed with her. We are confident that our new namesake will continue to demonstrate America’s strength and resolve as she navigates the waters of the dangerous, post-9/11 world in which we live.