KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Bearden Middle School held a special ceremony for National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day unveiling an artifact from the attack and a new display honoring our nation’s heroes.
The school received a piece of the USS Arizona, which was one of the 20 ships attacked in Pearl Harbor, thanks to an effort by Bearden’s dean of students, Stephen Shedden. He is a retired New York City Police lieutenant and a 9/11 survivor. His experiences with 9/11 led him to develop a greater understanding of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Last year, he learned about the Arizona Superstructure Relic program, which allows worthy organizations to obtain a piece of the USS Arizona.
“It allows worthy organizations, veteran groups, schools, to actually get a piece of the ship that is currently housed at Pearl Harbor in a secure site. It’s very similar to what they did with World Trade Center steel,” Shedden said. “I wanted to do it for the 80th anniversary but it was a very long arduous process to get it done, so we’re doing it for the 81st anniversary.”
In addition to the USS Arizona piece, Shedden developed a Hall of Heroes at the school to honor American heroes. It displays the USS Arizona pieces, a replica of the ship, several artifacts from 9/11 and artwork created by students.
“The intention is that students will come to appreciate our heroes, all of them; first responders, military, everyday heroes, teachers, parents who drive their kids to soccer games every day, and really learn the value of that,” he said. “And then, hopefully, when they get older and they’re out of here, they can pay that forward because ultimately I’m getting old and I’m going to need someone that has good character to take care of me when I can’t do it anymore.”
Around 150 pieces of the USS Arizona have been sent across the United States and one relic is even at the Imperial War Museum in London according to the U.S. Navy.