Mrs. Bonnie Cope, mother of
Seaman James R. Van Horn, the young Tucson sailor who went down
with the Battleship Arizona at Pearl Harbor, shows the copper
plaque on which Mayor Don Hummel proclaimed Monday, Dec. 1,
1958, James Van Horn Day in Tucson.
R. Van Horn
In the spring of 1941 Jim Van Horn - a sophomore at Tucson
High and just turned 17 - heard a recruiting talk by Adm. Isaac
Kidd and decided to quit school and join the Navy.
A few short months later - Dec. 7 - Seaman Van Horn and
Adm. Kidd both went down with the battleship Arizona when is was
bombed in the sneak Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
[Next] Monday, Dec. 1, will be James Randolf Van Horn day
in Tucson, according to a proclamation by Mayor Don Hummel. The
observance is being held in connection with a state-wide funds
drive to build a memorial museum over the battered remains of
the ship at Pearl Harbor.
Van Horn is among the 1,102 sailors and marines still
locked within the ship's rusted hulk.
In proclaiming the special day Hummel presented a copper
memorial plaque to Van Horn's mother, Mrs. Bonnie F. Copoe of
5253 N. Casa Grande Rd.
Remembering the day in 1941 when her son, who had lived all
his life in the desert, decided to go to sea, Mrs. Coope said,
"James never said anything about the Navy until he heard the
admiral talk. Then nothing could hold him. He was inspired. He
wanted to go."
It was pure coincidence - and
perhaps irony - that Adm.
Kidd, then commander of Battleship Division 1, was on the
Arizona when the Japanese struck. The boy and his idol went down
James enlisted in June and took his boot training at San
Diego. He had a choice of ships but chose the Arizona because it
was named after his home state.