Piece of USS Arizona on display in Colo. town

Posted at 11:00 AM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 13:00:36-05

The Town of Hugo, Colorado dedicated a piece of the USS Arizona to a local man who was killed in the Pearl Harbor attack, 74 years ago.

The town obtained a small piece of the upper deck portion of the ship and memorial from Hawaii. The ship was home to a 22-year-old Navy man Joe Will. Will, a Hugo native, died onboard the ship on December 7, 1941 along with 1173 other shipmates. It was the deadliest incident involving military ships in American history.

Some of Will's family still live in eastern Colorado.

"Sort of a sad story. He was very young when he died," said Marie Snyder, Will's niece. 

Snyder was present Monday as the town held a ceremony for Wilson and the piece of metal. The local VFW held the event.

Rare images of seaplane lost in Pearl Harbor

"It's amazing. I'm very impressed that the post made the effort to get the relic and our family appreciates it very much," Snyder said.

Snyder says she never knew her uncle, but that the death affected her family deeply. She claims the family didn't learn of Will's death until three months after the attack.

"It's been a long time," Snyder said. "I'm just so thankful that the VFW post in Hugo has honored him for as long as they have." 

Pictures of Will are posted on the walls of the VFW, including one painting showing a fleet behind the young man's head. The painting used to hang in Snyder's family home.

"The caption reads, first boy to give his life in Lincoln County for his country," Snyder.