INDIAN TRAIL – Landon Knestrick helped secure a piece of the USS Arizona battleship for his school thanks to the second-grader’s ongoing relationship with Pearl Harbor survivor Donald Stratton.
Japan attacked the Pearl Harbor naval base on Dec. 7, 1941. The bombing killed more than 2,300 people, including 1,177 people on the USS Arizona. The battleship remains underwater to this day.
While in Hawaii for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Knestrick family learned about The USS Arizona Relics Program, which allows schools and nonprofits to showcase pieces of the battleship.
The Knestricks and Strattons worked to secure a piece for Landon’s school, Charlotte Preparatory. The school celebrated the piece during a Nov. 8 Veterans Day assembly.
Landon learned about Donald Stratton through a PBS documentary on the USS Arizona. The Knestricks connected with Stratton’s family online, setting the stage for Landon to eventually meet him in Washington, D.C. PBS filmed the encounter for a commercial, which was eventually nominated for an Emmy.
Landon and his hero continue to stay in touch.