Oklahoma Memorial Dedicated at Pearl Harbor - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Oklahoma Memorial Dedicated at Pearl Harbor

Lewis Egnatovich, Lewis Egnatovich,

By Howard Dashefsky

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) -- December 7th 1941. The day the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, pushing the United States into World War II.

The latest addition to Pearl Harbor was dedicated Friday.

After 66 years, the U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial now stands as another reminder of the those who displayed great bravery, and those who lost their lives on December 7th, 1941.

From Marvin Adkins, to Thomas Zabransky.

429 marble columns mark the sailors and marines who lost their lives when at least eight torpedoes slammed into the port side of the U.S.S. Oklahoma, 66 year ago Friday morning.

"The water hit us the mast went over we hit the water and of course you know the rest," said Lewis Egnatovich, U.S.S. Oklahoma survivor.

The Oklahoma was one of nine battleships in Pearl Harbor the day the Japanese attacked.

It was tied up where the U.S.S. Missouri sits today.

Now, in the shadows on the Mighty Mo, a permanent memorial to the Oklahoma.

"They're the guys that ought to be honored. They are the guys that paid the supreme price for all our freedom including mine," said Egnatovich.

Edward Vezey was another of one the lucky young men who managed to escape the Oklahoma.

He says he can still the faces of those he served with a lifetime ago.

"I walked around here yesterday and saw the faces of the people that were my friends , drinking buddies and shipmates they're faces just come roaring back to mind," said Vezey.

Groundbreaking for this memorial took place one year ago Friday.  At the time there were only about 100 Oklahoma survivors.   In the year it took to complete the monument, more than a dozen more died.

KHNL News 8's Howard Dashefsky asked, "And to know you're finally being given a memorial you deserve 66 years later, what does that mean to you?"

"It means people are still important and for future generations it means be prepared, there is no such thing as freedom without fighting for it," said Vezey.

"Anyone who makes a stand in the face of the enemy and doesn't flinch, he's a hero believe me," said Vezey.

A ceremony held in Oklahoma back in October remembered men stationed here in Hawaii during World War II.

A brief ceremony took place at Oklahoma's State Capitol, marking a step toward the completion of the memorial here.

 

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