By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY - It was "a date which will live in infamy," and to the serviceman who fought so hard, a day to be memorialized and remembered.
Over the years, Oklahoma has shown its support of the military, and shown it doesn't forget its military heroes. The state proved that Wednesday when they unveiled a new memorial, a painting of a memorial that was dedicated last year in Hawaii.
The long overdue memorial commemorates the 429 men aboard the USS Oklahoma, who on December 7th, 1941, were killed by Japanese bombers. Only the USS Arizona had more casualties on that Day of Infamy, and yet it wasn't until last December -- 66 years later -- that those 429 got their own memorial at Pearl Harbor.
"It's been too darn long waiting for them to get recognized. They made the same sacrifice as some of the other kids out there," USS Oklahoma survivor Paul Goodyear said.
Goodyear is one of the Oklahoma survivors who fought for the memorial, along with fellow crewmate and survivor Ed Vezey.
"I was reluctant to get involved in all this activity until I heard how kids replied on a test: What's Pearl Harbor? 'Oh, that must be that place in Boston where they got mad at the British and threw the tea in the harbor.' I said ‘I'm gonna get to work,'" Vezey said.
Unveiled in the Senate chamber Wednesday, the painting features Goodyear and Vezey standing among the memorial's 429 white marble stanchions.
"You know, the memorial in Hawaii is for the world, but this painting is for Oklahomans, and it's special to me, with the depiction of both Paul and Ed in the painting," Senator Jim Reynolds said.
The two aging sailors said what's special to them is that the 429 won't be forgotten.
"And all I can say to anybody is, I think if you'll listen in your hearts -- and I said this once before in this chamber -- that if you listen in your hearts, you'll hear 429 thank you's," Goodyear said
Goodyear and Vezey are also working to identify and bring home the remains of 381 of the men, who are currently in 'unknown soldier' graves in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
The USS Oklahoma dedication painting was done by local artist Christopher Nick and can be seen on the 4th floor of the Capitol, on the Senate side.