Oklahoma Highway Named In Honor Of Coweta Marine

Saturday, August 26th 2006, 8:39 pm
By: News On 6

A lasting legacy for another US Marine from Oklahoma. Sgt. James Graham was killed fighting in Iraq a year ago this month. Now the state is honoring his sacrifice by leaving a mark on his hometown.

News on 6 reporter Joshua Brakage says flanked by family and friends, the parents, widow, and sons of Marine Sgt. James Graham wait for his final salute. Between other military mothers, fellow marines, and proud neighbors, the crowd in Coweta grew to 400.

Katrina Graham: "we have the liberties that other people don't have and my son believed in that 100 percent. He believed that everybody should have the right to do what they wanted, and he died for that."

Graham was killed by a suicide bomber last August. His unit came home to Broken Arrow a few months later, with one US Marine missing. Graham's family contacted their state legislator about a memorial. Representative Wade Rousselot is the proud son and brother of Marines.

Rep Wade Rousselot: "If I had to pick and choose of all the pieces of legislation I've carried, to just be able to do one in my whole career, this would be the one. I'd drop everything else and just do this."

While everyone was still in town for the ceremony, ODOT unveiled a sign on state Highway 51, off the Muskogee Turnpike, the beginning of the Sgt James Graham Memorial Highway.

Led by military men on motorcycles, Graham's family was taken for their first ride on James' highway. The Graham highway continues right through the middle of his hometown. Sgt Graham's family says even though he's been gone a year, his legacy lives on and everyone who drives this stretch will know they're traveling a hero's highway.

Katrina Graham: "In 100 years, when none of us are here anymore, someone will still drive down that road and say that man gave his life for this country, and be proud of it."

The Graham family was told it could take up to three years to get the highway named. But with the help of Representative Rousselot, it took just six months.