NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Naval museums and memorials in Norfolk are commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of Midway.
The MacArthur Memorial hosted a symposium on Friday with a number of speakers and one special guest, a veteran of the battle.
“Pulls up a lot of memories but that was a long time ago. 75 years,” said retired Navy Captain Dexter Rumsey.
Rumsey says he entered the Navy in 1938 as an aviation cadet and flew patrols. He flew near Midway.
“I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t know enough about history,” he said about the battle’s importance in the war.
The U.S. went on to defeat the Japanese there, which became a turning point in the tides of war in 1942. Rumsey says it also secured the United States’ dominance on the seas financially.
“The waterways of the world are still the primary waterways of the economy,” he said.
Others who attended the event stopped in town to highlight Virginia’s importance in World Wars I and II.
The Profiles of Honor mobile tour was also at the MacArthur Center. Rusty Nix, who works and travels with the exhibit, says families can come out to it to scan documents and pictures from the war. He says the exhibit will be at the Tides game on Sunday before heading out to more stops throughout the state.
While the exhibit highlights Virginians who played important roles during both of the wars, Rumsey says that serving their country is what ended up mattering the most.
“You go into service for a function and that is to protect the country. Now in protecting it, it’s nice to win,” he said.
Captain Rumsey, who was also the commanding officer at Naval Air Station Oceana during the 60s, will be the guest of honor at a commemoration of the Battle of Midway on Monday.
That will be held at the Naval Aviation Park on the Oceanfront at 2 p.m.