History abounds on the Rogers State University campus in Claremore. Historical buildings, sculptures of three U.S. presidents, and a military museum share the Hill alongside new state-of-the-art facilities.
“The Hill is truly a place the past and present converge, where history meets the future,” said RSU President Larry Rice.
This spring, a new piece of history will rise on the Hill. The Oklahoma Military Academy Killed in Action Memorial, a permanent tribute to OMA cadets who lost their lives during military service, will take its place near the front entrance of the main campus.
“The memorial promises to be an elegant, dignified, and somber reminder of our brothers who paid the ultimate price,” said Randy Vierling, President of the OMA Alumni Association. “It is destined to become a tourist attraction.”
The OMA KIA Memorial will be dedicated at a ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 4, during the annual OMA alumni reunion. The public is invited to attend.
More than 2,500 OMA cadets served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In addition, a greater percentage of OMA cadets served in the U.S. Armed Forces than any other high school, junior college or university in Oklahoma.
The memorial will be a black granite pyramid etched with the names of more than 100 OMA cadets who died in service abroad.
The architect for the project is OMA alumnus Bob Wright (’53), with LWPB Architects and Planners, LLC, of Oklahoma City.
The memorial is funded through private contributions from OMA alumni and their families.
“I’ve never seen such an outpouring of generosity,” said Dr. Danette Boyle, RSU vice president for development. “In fact, we have met and exceeded our goal. The amount raised above the cost of the memorial will be placed in an endowment to preserve it for posterity, to provide scholarships for RSU military history students, and to maintain the OMA Museum.
“The dedication of the memorial will make this year’s OMA reunion a very special event,” Boyle said. “The OMA alumni are preparing for the dedication, and we would like to invite the entire community to join us.”
The memorial will be located between Preparatory Hall, the institution’s first building, and Meyer Hall, its second facility, which originally served as OMA barracks. Both buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This memorial represents more than just a stone monument to the past – the etched names and the words of dedication are testimonials to the code of conduct OMA cadets learned as young ROTC officers in training. ‘Courage, Loyalty, Honor’ are values that have served us well throughout our lifetimes,” Vierling said.
“We believe this
memorial is a way to share those values with today’s students and the next generation. The sacrifice of those who gave it all on our behalf is an example of those values in action. Perhaps the young men and women who now walk where they once walked will gain a better understanding and appreciation of those values, and put them into practice in their own lives.”
For more information about the OMA reunion, or to register, contact Boyle at (918) 343-7773 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.rsu.edu.