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About 75 guests, including members of the Oklahoma City Chapter of Freedoms Foundation and teachers who were on campus for the “Heroes and Heroines” graduate program, attended. Two Medal of Honor recipients, Hiroshi Miyamura (Army, Korea) and retired Gen. James Livingston (Marines, Vietnam), spoke to the gathering. Also joining the event was retired Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, president and CEO of the Medal of Honor Foundation and formerly chief of staff of U.S. Central Command.
Wallace Nunn, chairman of Freedoms Foundation’s Board of Directors, presided. In his remarks, Nunn said, “When I walk the miles of paths in this special place, a verse from the Bible runs through my mind: ‘Greater love has no one than this — that he lay down his life for his friends.’ This Medal of Honor Grove exemplifies the meaning of that verse. Sixty percent of the more than 3,500 recipients honored here received their medal posthumously. Most of the rest were wounded; that they survived was miraculous.
“Why did these recipients do what they did? Not for money. Not for fame. They responded to the challenge raised 2,000 years ago by Hillel: ‘If not now, when? If not me, who?’ What drove their response? Love. Read the citations that accompany the awarding of the Medals. They are not about war. They’re about love.”
David Harmer, president and CEO of Freedoms Foundation, read a message from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. “I would like to thank the Oklahoma City Chapter of Freedoms Foundation for making this renovation possible,” Fallin wrote. “Inscribed on this obelisk are the names of the 21 Medal of Honor recipients who entered the military through Oklahoma. These 21 men, through their selfless service and courageous action, earned the highest award that our country can give. I am thankful to Freedoms Foundation for cultivating the space to remember this sacrifice. If we don’t fully grasp the price of our freedom, if we don’t have venues that allow us to learn how precious liberty is, then our exceptionalism is diminished.”
Paul Wehrenberg, an Oklahoma City Chapter board member, led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Chapter President Don Powers delivered the invocation. The new red granite obelisk was officially presented by Molly Wehrenberg, treasurer of the Chapter, and accepted, on behalf of Friends of the Medal of Honor Grove and Freedoms Foundation, by Mark Prowell, the new chairman of the Friends.
Joe Crescenz, whose brother Michael was awarded a Medal of Honor for actions during Vietnam, gave the benediction. Taps was played by Dan Fitzpatrick of the Marine Corp League.
Watch the ceremony here.
The Oklahoma City Chapter raised about $50,000 to replace the original fiberglass obelisk with a red granite one, add two benches, and upgrade the sidewalk and brick plaza in the Oklahoma Area.
There are 21 Medal of Honor Recipients on the new obelisk, all having entered service in Oklahoma. They are:
Sgt. First Class Bennie G. Adkins (Army, Vietnam)
Sgt. First Class Tony K. Burris (Army, Korea)
Second Lt. Ernest Childers (Army, World War II)
Staff Sgt. John R. Crews (Army, World War II)
Commander Ernest E. Evans (Navy, World War II)
First Lt. Donald J. Gott (Army Air Corps, World War II)
First Lt. George P. Hays (Army, World War I)
First Lt. Frederick F. Henry (Army, Korea)
Pvt. Harold G. Kiner (Army, World War II)
Lt. Richard M. McCool Jr. (Navy, World War II)
Sgt. Troy A. McGill (Army, World War II)
First Lt. Jack C. Montgomery (Army, World War II)
Sgt. Larry S. Pierce (Army, Vietnam)
Private First Class John N. Reese Jr. (Army, World War II)
Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers (Army, World War II)
Cpl. Samuel M. Sampler (Army, World War I)
Private First Class Albert E. Schwab (Marine Corps Reserve, World War II)
Spec. 4 Donald P. Sloat (Army, Vietnam)
Maj. John L. Smith (Marines, World War II)
Capt. Jack L. Treadwell, (Army, World War II)
Cpl. Harold L. Turner (Army, World War I)
The original dedication of the Oklahoma State Area took place on July 4, 1975. The invitation to that event, and pictures from that ceremony, appear below.
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Photos of Dedication
David Lyle Boren, governor of Oklahoma, attended.