WWII Sub Memorial Opens At Liberty Station

It took 14 years of fundraising, planning and dealing with bureaucracy, but a memorial to submariners lost in World War II has opened at Liberty Station.

The memorial, called the 52 Boats Memorial, honors the 52 submarines that were lost in World War II. It consists of 52 American Liberty Elm trees, 52 flags and 52 granite memorials to the ships and men who were lost.

"Oh, it means a great deal. We're not looking for glory. It's a remembrance for most of us," said World War II submarine veteran C.J. Glassford.

Hundreds turned out for Thursday's dedication, including around two dozen men who served in subs in World War II. Along with the 52 boats lost, 3,505 men lost their lives.

The project was driven by Doug Smay, whose father served in submarines during World War II. He was also a submariner years later.

"They used to say if you saw five submariners in Honolulu during the war, one of them wasn't coming home. One in five were lost," said Smay.

The memorial is two long sidewalks, flanked by the trees, flags and plaques. People looking at them Thursday said they were moving and appropriate. For those who served in the Silent Service, they meant even more.

"Submarines have been my life; always have been and I guess they always will be," said Glassford.

Ninety percent of the money for the project was raised through private donations.