WWII war hero Don Stratton exhibit rehomed to Pikes Peak East Library

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The Don Stratton USS Arizona exhibit — honoring the life of the local World War II hero — has been relocated to the Pikes Peak East Library and is available for free public viewing, the Pikes Peak Heroes Legacy Committee announced Wednesday.

“I am thrilled the Don Stratton exhibit is now on display at PPLD East Library for the community to view and learn about the USS Arizona and America’s World War II history, said El Paso County Board Chair Stan VanderWerf.

The interactive exhibit is a multi-panel of photos and digitized videos about the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and also shares the history of Donald Stratton’s life. You can also see one of his uniforms and memorabilia. Plus, there is also a 150 lb piece of the actual USS Arizona superstructure.

Stratton was one of the only 334 member of the Arizona’s Crew who survived the attack and lived a long time here in El Paso County.

A best-selling author, Stratton co-wrote “All the Gallant Men” about his experiences in Pearl Harbor, the first memoir by a USS ARIZONA a survivor.

“I hope when people see the proud name USS Arizona, they will remember the men who died defending our great country, and to ensure that an attack like that never happens again,” at the time of the exhibit unveiling at the original location at the Colorado Springs Airport. “Remember those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. Thank you to the citizens of the Pikes Peak region for honoring my shipmates.”

“Never forget Pearl Harbor or any other attack that has taken place. We want to honor Donald Stratton because he is one of the unsung heroes and he was an interesting individual in that he was at the attack on Pearl Harbor and he went back into the Navy. The Navy made him go back through bootcamp a second time after he was in the hospital with very bad burns and then he served until the end of the war,” said Dr. Andy Cain, Retired Navy Captain.

Stratton passed away in 2020 along with his wife, Velma, of nearly 70 years.

For current hours of when you can experience this exhibit, you can go to the Pikes Peak East Library website.


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