Sioux Falls, S.D. - The USS South Dakota Reunion will be held July 2-4, 2009, in Sioux Falls at the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial. The group will be going to the Royal River Casino on Friday, July 3, and in the evening, they will be entertained by Minnehaha Mandskor of Sioux Falls. On Saturday, the 4th of July, the day will begin with breakfast and a program at the memorial followed by lunch, group photos and a whole lot of reminiscing.
The first official reunion was held over the 4th of July weekend in 1970. Since then, the crew has come together every other year in Sioux Falls to reminisce and enjoy the same camaraderie they had aboard ship. Many bring their families with them to show them their beloved memorial that they are so proud of. There have been shipmates who come to visit the memorial for the first time at each reunion.
Over the years they have had as many as 200 in attendance. The numbers have decreased considerably over the last few reunions because WWII veterans are getting up in years and many can no longer travel.
In 2007, the Veterans and the Board of Directors voted to disband their Association and turn over the reunion planning to the 2nd Generation Group. This group has hosted mini reunions for the crew and their families since 1998, hosting them in cities such as Washington, DC, Providence, RI, New Orleans, San Francisco, and most recently, in St. Louis last September. This is the first National reunion that the 2nd Generation Group will be hosting. More information about the reunion, history of the battleship, photos of the crew and more can be found at www.ussdakota.com.