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USS Utah bell returns to Beehive State

Ship among first to sink during Pearl Harbor attack

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) An important piece of American history is back in Utah as the country remembers the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

The bell of the USS Utah was carefully restored after being on temporary display on the east coast. 

The USS Utah was hit by two torpedoes in the first minutes of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Sixty-four people died when the ship  sank.

Although just a boy, Captain David Dungan remembers the impact Pearl Harbor had on the country. 

"We heard about it on the radio and I remember my parents and the older people in the neighborhood, something had changed greatly," Captain Dungan said.

After the attack, USS Utah's bell remained in Hawaii waters for two decades. In 1966, it found its home on the U's campus outside the Naval Science buildings.

"It was hard to walk by it and not think about all of the history that went into that bell," Captain Dungan said. 

Last year, it was loaned to the Naval War College in Rhode Island. 

Restorers spent 600 hours on the bell before bringing it back to Utah. The bell stands proud within the entrance of the Naval Science Building a reminder of the attack 76 years ago, after a rededication Thursday. 

"This bell definitely was there. It went down with the ship. It still has marine growth on the inside and barnacles from being at Pearl Harbor," Karl Knauer said, conservator for Naval History and Heritage. 

"This is a visible, continued reminder of the self-sacrifice of our veterans. We ought to remember it," State Rep. Stephen Handy said. 

The USS Utah name lives on in a new Virginia class attack submarine dedicated in January 2016.

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