Story by Erin Watson
Photographs by Lemuel Finlay
The crew of USS Oklahoma finally got their day in the sun. Sixty-six years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a tribute to the 429 men that died on the USS Oklahoma is finally open. The USS Oklahoma suffered the second highest casualty rate during the attacks at Pearl Harbor. Constructing the memorial was no easy task though. The combined efforts of Swift Transportation and American Truck Training’s Jerry Thurman assisted the long awaited memorial’s dedication in Pearl Harbor. The memorial consists of 429 granite pillars that Swift transported from Oklahoma to California. Each pillar is engraved with a fallen soldier’s name.
The USS Oklahoma memorial, dedicated on Dec. 7, 2007, cost $1.1 million dollars, all of which came from private donors and the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. For his part, Thurman is just glad a memorial has finally been erected, “This is something that needed to happen a long time ago...It’s something that needs to be taught in schools.” Because of the patriotic effort of Swift Transportation, American Truck Training and others, the men who died on the USS Oklahoma finally have a legacy, a legacy that Americans for generations to come can cherish and honor. These were some of the bravest men the world has ever seen.
For more information on the USS Oklahoma memorial, please visit the website at www.ussoklahoma.com .