A few years ago, Michael Beach visited the gravesite of every single Oklahoma soldier who died in World War I and World War II.
After seeing the headstones of more than 3,000 people buried throughout the world, he had a realization.
“If all you see is a name, there's nothing there. There's nothing you can connect with. A lot of the people that knew anything about these guys ... they're gone,” Beach said.
So he set out to put a face and even better, a story behind every single name.
Beach said he knows there's no way of finishing.
But his project's purpose became clear when he visited with Maurice Galoob of Norman.
Galoob's uncle, who he's named after, died with Patton's troops reinforcing the Battle of the Bulge.
“The more I learn about him, the less I know. And the more I learn about him, the more I wish I had learned a lot earlier,” Galoob said.
Maurice provided Beach with pictures of his namesake and his words from war.
Everything Beach collects becomes part of a narrative passed along to veteran cemeteries, like the one in Hamm Luxemburg.
“The more stories of Oklahoma, the more chance they will be talked about,” Beach said.
But it's the families who appreciate the connection to the past the most.
If you have a story to tell, go to our Red Dirt Diaries page, and fill out the form.