Veterans In OKC Remember Lives Lost On The USS Oklahoma

Sunday, December 7th 2014, 2:34 pm
By: News 9

The USS Oklahoma went down during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 73 years ago.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the battleship took three torpedo hits almost immediately after the first Japanese bombs fell. And as the battleship began to capsize, two more torpedoes landed.

Only 32 sailors survived and 429 were killed on that ship.

So in a small ceremony at the State Capitol, about a dozen World War II veterans honored the lives lost at sea.

The group placed a wreath at the USS Oklahoma memorial at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City to remember those who died on the date which will live in infamy.

“Guard all of those buried at sea and on land and all of our dear shipmates that we've lost,” veteran Bob Delaney said in a prayer at the ceremony.

Members of the Fleet Reserve Association's 268th branch (FRA) were not part of the crew on the USS Oklahoma, but they said they still consider those sailors shipmates.

“We've all been aboard ship,” said veteran Troy Lollis. “You think about them.”

Most of the men in attendance were teenagers when the war began, eager to fight after that devastating attack.

“Teachers were bringing small radios to school,” said veteran Sheridan Marquardt. “They said the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and we were going to listen to the President's speech and declaration of war.”

“Everybody was real patriotic then,” Lollis said. “I couldn't wait to get to be 17 and dad wouldn't sign.”

Lollis' dad finally signed for him to go into the service just before his 18th birthday. “During World War II, you just couldn't wait, you know?”

Lollis remembered seeing the USS Oklahoma upside down in the harbor. “That was quite dramatic,” he said.

And it was that dramatic sight that brought him to the memorial 73 years later. Lollis and the rest of those in attendance remembered the shipmates that are gone and spent time with the ones still here.

“They're just my shipmates and always will be,” Lollis said.

The FRA has been honoring this day for more than 20 years at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City.

That branch was named after the USS Oklahoma.

The non-profit's members meet each month to talk about sea service veterans' affairs.