Phoenix, AZ - Day 3 - 03/15/2012

Published at 10:44 PM in , ,

In front of the Arizona capitol

Today we started out at the Arizona state capitol.   The governor's offices are housed in the historic capitol building, but the state legislature is housed in two adjoining buildings.  The capitol building houses quite an impressive collection of items unique to Arizona.  Perhaps the best exhibit is that of items from the USS Arizona.

Copper and silver punch bowl set

The USS Arizona was bombed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941.  Today it sits underwater in the harbor, with a memorial built on top.  There were several silver and copper serving pieces from the battleship on display.  It just so happens that the pieces had been removed for cleaning prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Rear Admiral Kidd

One interesting photograph there was that of Isaac C. Kidd.  He was the Rear Admiral aboard the USS Arizona at the time of the Pearl Harbor bombing.  He was killed in the attacks.  In his honor three Navy destroyers have been named in his honor.  The first was the very same ship we toured in Baton Rouge! We love when we can connect pieces of history together like that for the kids.

There was also a huge piece of the USS Arizona in the museum.  Looking through that display really reinforced the importance, but also the sadness, of what happened on that day.

A bicycle from the Gratitude Train
Another portion of the museum contains mementos from the "Friendship Train" and the "Merci Train."  At the end of World War II, Americans collected everyday items from clothes to food, loaded them in boxcars, and sent them to France.  After the war, France was left with very little from the German invasion.  So of course Americans wanted to help the French people rebuild their lives.  These boxcars were dubbed the "Friendship Train."  The French were so grateful, that the filled their own boxcars to be sent to the Americans, and was so called the "Merci Train", or by Americans, the "Gratitude Train."  Each state received one boxcar, but sadly most of the items received are unaccounted for today.  Arizona's boxcar is one of the exceptions.  Many items are on display from their boxcar.  There was a bicycle and a hand-knitted baby outfit, with a note that says "for an American baby."  There were notes and plans from individuals involved in the French Resistance and many other interesting items.  It was awesome to see evidence of the French gratitude for American generosity.

The state tree and state mammal

The last room we visited was all about the state of Arizona: its symbols and history.  It was a great little learning spot.

Jim with Aunt Agnes
After we finished up at the capitol, we headed back out to see Aunt Agnes.  We took her out in the therapy gardens, talked, and just spent time with her.  We then headed out to get dinner with Stephanie, her husband Stan, and their son Daniel.  All in all, a very productive, happy day!

Tomorrow we start out for the Grand Canyon!

More pictures in the Photo Gallery.

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