U.S.S. Monitor Center Opens

A 30 million dollar center dedicated to the USS Monitor has opened in Newport News, Virginia.

Friday's opening comes on the 145th anniversary of the Union ship's Civil War battle with the Confederate ship CSS Virginia in the first clash of ironclads. The Monitor wreckage site 16 miles off North Carolina's coast was the first national marine sanctuary.

At the opening, Governor Tim Kaine, who said the center embodies the Old Testament phrase "beating a sword into a plowshare."

He said a weapon of war is now, in his words, "the centerpiece of an educational museum in a reunited nation not at war with itself."

The center is in a new wing of The Mariners' Museum that houses more than 12-hundred artifacts from the Monitor and a major interactive exhibition on both armored vessels.

The Monitor and the Virginia fought to a draw on March 9, 1862, near where the museum now stands. The battle made wooden warships obsolete.