SAN PEDRO, Calif. (KABC) -- A special service on the USS Iowa marked the 30th anniversary of the tragic accident that killed 47 sailors on April 19, 1989. The Number Two gun turret explosion was one of the largest peace-time loss of life incidents in the U.S. Navy's history.
In San Pedro on the bow of the battleship, shipmates and loved ones honored the fallen and the living by sharing memories and reading the names of the sailors who lost their lives.
"I can't imagine the strength that it took for some of them to come back on the deck and relive that," said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Gov. Reynolds was the keynote speaker of the ceremony.
"That's an event that all of us have to live with for the last 30 years," said David Canfield, Chief Petty Officer (Ret.). "We need to memorialize the event, but I'm tired of mourning the death. I want to celebrate their lives."
Canfield was on the ship on that fateful day, and now he is the vice president of the Pacific Battleship Center. He commutes from Northern California to San Pedro every week because of an attachment to the ship.
"It's about honoring those 47 who lost their lives that day, many of whom were friends of mine," Canfield said.
Ceremony marks 30th anniversary of deadly explosion aboard USS Iowa that killed 47 sailors