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Bill Bowers interviews


The Bill Bowers interviews consist of video recordings of Wilber "Bill" Bowers discussing his time as a student at the University of Arizona, as well as his military service and career as a professional photographer. Also included is footage of Bowers receiving the Bear Down Award in 1999. 


In 1944, while serving as an Army captain at the Puget Sound Naval Yard in Bremerton, WA, Bowers came across the USS Arizona bell in a wooden crate while looking for metal scrap to signal gunmen. Bowers learned that the bell--forged from Arizona-mined copper and silver--was set to be melted down at the yard. He called on then UArizona President Alfred Atkinson requesting he contact then-Arizona Governor Sidney P. Osborn to save the bell from destruction. 


The bell was delivered to UArizona in 1946. Surprised by the large scale of the bell, a committee placed it in the Arizona State Museum until a suitable, safe home could be secured. In 1951, the bell was placed in the clock tower of the new Student Union. Although it could be heard ringing after sports victories against out-of-state teams, it was enclosed and could not be seen in the old Union's tower. In its new home, the bell is now visible to all.


A proud and active UArizona alumnus, Bill Bowers received a Bear Down Award from the Arizona Alumni Association in 1999 for his efforts to save the USS Arizona bell. 

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