Engraved with the names of 100 former Oklahoma Military Academy cadets who died in wars, the OMA Killed in Action Memorial at Rogers State University opened Saturday amid celebration for the soldiers’ sacrifice.
RSU administrators, OMA alumni and military officials dedicated the monument with Bible verses, quotes by Abraham Lincoln and praise for Claremore’s contributions to the U.S. Military.
“Let this day serve as an icon for their courage, sacrifice and love of country,” OMA Alumni Association President Randy Vierling told a crowd outside the university’s Preparatory Hall — one of the original buildings of the OMA campus, which later became RSU.
Maj. Gen. Timothy Malishenko, a 1962 OMA graduate who fought in Vietnam, Korea and peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, told the crowd the dedication was a celebration of the OMA’s contribution to the military and its graduates who died fighting for freedom.
“Today we honor 100 graduates of the OMA who paid the last full measure of devotion,” he said. “In memorializing them today, we ensure they will be remembered forever.”
“They did their duty to keep America great.”
Sixty-eight former OMA cadets died in World War II, 10 in the Korean War and 22 in other conflicts. The dedication of their memorial was part of the annual OMA reunion, which began Friday.
“This reunion is different from all of our past reunions,” OMA alumnus David Raper said. “We’re also here to honor the valor of those who gave the ultimate gift.
“We will never forget. We must not forget.”
The memorial stands between Predatory Hall and the OMA museum in Meyer Hall. Speakers said the museum and memorial likely will make RSU a more attractive tourist destination for history enthusiasts and those honoring fallen soldiers.
“Rest assured, the bond between the OMA and RSU will never be broken,” RSU President Larry Rice said. “The footsteps of the OMA alumni are all over this hill.”