OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Wednesday marks 81 years since the tragic attacks at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The day that will forever live in infamy was remembered Wednesday morning by both current and former military members at the Oklahoma Veterans Memorial in honor of those who lost their lives on that fateful day.
“Today is a special day for all of us to remember those who gave their life on the USS Oklahoma,” said Navy veteran Benton Wilkison.
The USS Oklahoma was just one of eight battleships along with more than 300 airplanes that were damaged or destroyed. About 2,400 lives were also lost that day.
“This was a day so significant that 81 years later we’re gathering together as a nation in remembrance,” said Capt. Bob Majoris with strategic communications wing 1 at Tinker Air Force Base.
As Majoris said, 8 decades later current and former military members gathered at the Oklahoma Veterans Memorial to remember those who lost their lives. They also spent some time remembering those who died on a ship that’s commemorated here at home.
“On the USS Oklahoma, more than 400 souls were trapped on board as the ship took torpedoes, turned onto its side and sunk during the first minutes of the attack,” Majoris said.
For about 20 years the ceremony has been held at that memorial by the Fleet Reserve Association Branch 268. They are also known as the USS Oklahoma Memorial Branch.
“It’s awe inspiring to me,” said Navy veteran Susan Frederici.
Both Wilkison and Frederici are a part of that branch that puts the ceremony together. They included the ringing of the ships bell, looked into the history of that day and placed a wreath near the foot of the USS Oklahoma memorial. Majoris also left those in attendance with something to keep in mind.
“So, one thing we remember today is not to take our defense for granted. We must stay vigilant and ready,” Majoris said. “We will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but we will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.”