The United States recognized the strategic importance of Midway as early as 1870, when efforts began to clear a southern channel into the lagoon. It was clear that Midway’s geographic position as a “stepping stone across the Pacific” made the island a critical link in cable communications (1903) as well as an early transpacific Pan American seaplane stop (1935). Work began on the military facility at Midway in March 1940. The Battle of Midway, fought from June 4-6, 1942, was one of the most decisive battles of World War II, and proved to be the turning point of the War in the Pacific. The U.S. Navy recognizes the Battle of Midway as one of the two most significant dates in naval history. On September 13, 2000, Midway Atoll NWR was designated as the Battle of Midway National Memorial, so that the heroic courage and sacrifice of those who fought against overwhelming odds to win an incredible victory will never be forgotten.