Oologah Students Honoring War Hero

Thursday, December 4th 2008, 5:39 pm
By: News On 6

By Richard Clark and Scott Thompson, News On 6

OOLOGAH, OK -- History has come to life for a group of high school students in Oologah.

Learning about the accomplishment of a local war hero has inspired them to make sure future generations give him the credit he deserves.

"It just proves that great people come from small places," said Michael Wallis, Oologah H.S. student.

The members of the Oologah High School History Club are accustomed to seeing monuments.  But these monuments honor Oologah's favorite son, Will Rogers.

The kids want to build their own monument, to a forgotten hero from Talala, the small town just up the road.

"We were doing research for Veterans Day last year and one of my students discovered that we had a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, or recipient, right here in Talala which really as a veteran surprised me because I didn't, I didn't know that," said Oologah History Teacher Warren Metcalf.

That Medal of Honor recipient was Sergeant Roy Harmon.  His heroic act happened on July 12th, 1944.

Sergeant Harmon gave his life to protect his men, by singlehandedly wiping out three enemy machine gun nests in a wheat field in Italy.

The students say that act deserves permanent recognition.

"There's 13 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor from Oklahoma, and I don't know how many there are towards them, but we know that there's one missing," said Wallis.

Sergeant Harmon's act of bravery inspired the students to build an 8-foot stone monument, with a plaque detailing his story.   

"They're actually seeing that these are real people, real live human beings that have participated in these things, and it really makes a connection for them and it really makes history come alive for them," said Metcalf.

The students have raised about half of the $5,000 they need and they already know how they'll react when they unveil the monument in March.

The students have only been able to find one member of Sergeant Harmon's family, a sister in California. They hope she can attend the unveiling.