FORD ISLAND, Hawaii (NNS) -- The USS Oklahoma Memorial Committee and the National Park Service hosted a joint dedication ceremony for USS Oklahoma (BB 37) Memorial Dec. 7 on historic Ford Island.
The memorial stands to honor the 429 Sailors and Marines on board Oklahoma who lost their lives Dec. 7, 1941 after being hit by five torpedoes and capsizing at Pearl Harbor.
"Today we will right a terrible wrong," said Read Adm. Doug McClain, director of global operations, U.S. Strategic Command and master of ceremonies for the event. "We will finally dedicate a memorial to the 429 Sailors and Marines that have not yet been recognized properly."
At 7:55 a.m. Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese launched an air attack on Pearl Harbor which forever changed the world we live in.
"That day, 429 U.S. Sailors and Marines lost their lives, tragically killed. Today we will remember and honor their service and sacrifice to this country," said McClain.
A traditional Hawaiian blessing was delivered to the memorial by Kahu David Ka'upu and the colors were paraded by Oklahoma high school Navy and Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from Claremore High School and U.S. Grant High School.
Guest speakers for the event were Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander, U.S. Pacific Command; Oklahoma survivor Edward Vezey; Lisa Ridge, granddaughter of Oklahoma crew member Fire Controlman 1st Class Paul Nash; the Honorable Lyle Laverty, assistant secretary of the interior; the Honorable Jim Reynolds, Oklahoma State Senate; the Honorable Linda Lingle, governor of Hawaii; the Honorable Brad Henry, governor of Oklahoma; the Honorable Neil Abercrombie, representative of Hawaii; the Honorable Mary Fallin and Tom Cole, representatives of Oklahoma, and Don Beck, architect for USS Oklahoma Memorial.
USS Oklahoma Memorial is constructed of 429 pieces of three dimemsional white marble columns, engraved with the names of each crew member that perished during the attack. The white marble columns are arranged in a "V" shape, designed to resemble Sailors manning the rails. Surrounding the columns are black marble slabs etched with notable quotes from Oklahoma survivors.
Following the dedication, Oklahoma survivor Paul Goodyear broke the memorials' colors for the first time in a ceremonial flag raising.
The event closed with a 21-gun salute from the Navy Region Hawaii Ceremonial Guard and a solemn bagpipe march through the memorial echoeing "Amazing Grace."
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.