A gift from the heart

Retired member donates historic WWII artificat to BLE

Brother Bob Manzetti with the bottom portion of the USS Arizona Memorial flag pole, an historical artifact that he donated to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers on May 1.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers received an historic World War II artifact on May 1.

The artifact -- the bottom portion of the USS Arizona Memorial flag pole -- was presented to the BLE as a permanent loan by retired Division 3 (Cleveland) member Bob Manzetti. BLE International President Don M. Hahs accepted the historic artifact on behalf of all BLE members.

"We are honored to receive this great, historical artifact," BLE President Hahs said. "It is a moving reminder of all of the men and women who served - including many BLE members. The brave men and women who gave their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor are proudly remembered by everyone, including their fellow veterans like Brother Manzetti.

"I would like to thank him for including the BLE in his efforts to memorialize those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor and assure him that his gift will be displayed proudly by the BLE for many years to come."

Brother Manzetti is an honorary member of the USS Arizona Reunion Association and secured the pole from the U.S. Navy and the Department of Interior in 1991 when it was replaced by a fiberglass pole. The pole had been a part of the USS Arizona Memorial for 43 years and is now a part of the memorial at the National Veterans Cemetery in Arizona. The flag pole was originally welded to the sunken USS Arizona in March 1950.

Brother Manzetti joined the BLE on October 5, 1948 and retired in 1984. He served in the U.S. Navy in the southwest Pacific from November 1943 until April 1946.

Manzetti decided to give it to the BLE as a permanent loan because of his many years as a member. It will be displayed in the BLE offices in Cleveland for visitors, BLE members, their families and other guests.

The USS Arizona Memorial was completed in 1961 and dedicated on Memorial Day in 1962. The Memorial is one of the most popular tourist sites in Hawaii. It is dedicated to the 1,177 sailors and marines who died on board the USS Arizona during the attack on December 7, 1941.

It has come to symbolize and represent the sacrifices made during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Salt water damaged the memorial flag pole during the 43 years it was mounted to the deck of the USS Arizona.



© 2003 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers