State officials plan to attend dedication of USS Oklahoma exhibit at Pearl Harbor

Friday, December 3rd 2004, 5:57 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A number of local officials are planning to attend a ceremony at Pearl Harbor to dedicate a permanent display for the USS Oklahoma, the battleship that capsized after the surprise 1941 attack by Japan on the Hawaiian base.

The unveiling will be held Monday, the eve of the 63rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he has been working with the National Park Service for the display and is still pushing for a memorial at Ford Island.

The permanent display, Cole said, ``is the first step in a long overdue process to establish a memorial for the USS Oklahoma and the many crew members who worked aboard.''

Expected to join Cole in Hawaii is state Sen. Jim Reynolds, who has worked for several years with survivors of the USS Oklahoma to create a permanent memorial for the ship and its crew.

``About a million and a half people visit the museum every year,'' said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. ``They know all about the Arizona, but there are too many people who don't know that the USS Oklahoma sustained the second largest loss of life, with 429 men killed. This exhibit will finally tell their story.''

The display will include two panels, including one depicting the USS Oklahoma from the time of its christening in 1917 through World War I and the years leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The second panel will depict what happened to the ship on Dec. 7, 1941.