Archive for the ‘veterans’ Category

Women’s War Memorial, Broken Arrow Veterans Park: Honoring Military Women, and Women who Served their Country as Civilians

February 15, 2008

(Click here or on any image in this article to be taken to a photo slideshow of the event.)

On December 7, 2007 (Pearl Harbor Day), a monument was dedicated in the Broken Arrow (OK) Veteran’s Park, memorializing the women of the United States who have served their country. The memorial began as the dream of Jene Pointer, President of the VFW Post 10887 Broken Arrow Ladies Auxiliary, and eventually, her husband, Ralph Pointer, Commander, inspired by a documentary on Women Air Force Service Pilots (W.A.S.P.’s) during WWII.

That dream of a small monument in Veteran’s Park in Broken Arrow, OK, soon took on a life of it’s own, and grew into a beautiful 11′ by 33′ black granite monument sitting between a reflecting pond, and a lighted fountain, with flags waiving above.

Eleven polished black granite tablets are etched with the photographs and descriptions of women who served their country overseas and at home during the Revolutionary, Civil, and Spanish American Wars, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The center tablet is inscribed with the following:


TO THE WOMEN WARRIORS OF

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND THOSE

NOW SERVING, WITH PRIDE AND

HONOR IN THE MILITARY OF THE USA,

AND

THOSE COURAGEOUS WOMEN AT

HOME WHO SUPPORTED THE WAR

EFFORT BY TAKING CARE OF

FAMILY AND FILLING THE JOBS

LEFT VACANT BY THE DEMANDS

OF WAR. WOMEN BECAME FACTORY

WORKERS, FARMERS, BUILDERS, MECHANICS

AND DID WHATEVER WAS NECESSARY

IN THE QUEST FOR PEACE.

LITTLE DID THEY KNOW THEIR

EFFORTS WOULD LEAVE AN EVERLASTING

MARK ON AMERICAN SOCIETY AND

THE WORLD.

THANK YOU AND

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.


Following is the touching story, in Jene Pointer’s own words, of how this memorial grew from a dream into a reality:

“Ralph – I have an idea…”
by: Jene Pointer

While getting ready to do errands one day, I was listening to O.E.T.A. Channel 11 (Tulsa). It was a program on WWII and the only part I heard was about these women pilots, so I hurried to se what it was about.

They were standing in front of their airplanes. W.A.S.P.’s (Women Air Service Pilots) being mustered out of the service and no money paid to them for transportation or anything else. Just what looked like a cardboard suitcase sitting at their feet. They had been flying these buckets of nuts and bolts and given nothing when leaving the service! Many women had died while transporting these planes. I thought “Someone should do something to remember these women.”

Thinking about them occasionally, but not doing anything about it until August, 2003, when my husband and I went to a Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary convention in San Antonio, Texas. On the way home we stopped at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant near Fort Worth. After lunch we were looking at their items for sale and saw a hand towel with the image of “Rosie the Riveter” on it. We bought it.

On the way home I began to think about the women who had served our country and the women who took over the jobs of the men leaving for war to defend our United States of America. Someone should do something to honor these women, Military and Civilian!

I couldn’t shake this idea, so I began to pray about it. Not mentioning this idea to anyone, so not to have any outside influence, I said: “Well, Jesus, what do You say about this? Someone needs to do the job. The men deserve every memorial, statue and plaque given to them and more, however, the women should be remembered too.”

Finally it came down to why not Oklahoma? Why not Broken Arrow? Why not us – the VFW and Ladies Auxiliary? After a few weeks it seemed okay and I said, “Okay, Jesus, here we go and I’m not going without You.”

That evening I said, “Ralph, I have an idea,” and I reminded him of the W.A.S.P.s and the “Rosie” towel and that someone should make a memorial to all of these women.

A couple of weeks later, after a VFW and Ladies Auxiliary meeting he said, “We’re going to do it!”

“Do What?” I asked him.

Ralph said, “Build a women’s memorial!”

Oh! And we were off and running. We knew nothing about building a memorial, but began to plan its size. Ralph was seeing and talking with anyone who would listen: individuals, businesses, and city officials. The idea caught on and the meetings began. He came home one day and said they thought a memorial about 3′ X 4′ would be nice.

I told him that would never fly. There would be some wild cowboy come by about midnight, rope the thing, drag it into the middle of the street and we’d all be mad. Next, it was 13’long – nice – then, to its present 33′ X 7′ size.

So many wonderful, talented, dedicated, knowledgeable people working together for a memorial to women who deserve to be remembered.

Prayer brought all of these people together to make the Women’s War Memorial a success. A beautiful work of art in black granite etched by an expert engraver, which was dedicated December 7, 2007 on a cold, misty, rainy day in Veteran’s Park, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

Much appreciation to the Oklahoma Centennial Commission for the grant given for this Centennial project.

A very special thanks to my husband for his many months of hard work seeing this project completed on time.

Many, many thanks to everyone: It’s all about the memorial. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Ralph, I’ve been thinking…”

(Also published in Broken Arrow Seniors, Inc., Silver Notes)

The VFW Post 10887 and Ladies Auxiliary (Broken Arrow, OK) will soon be accepting orders for enscribed memorial bricks to be placed in various areas of the park around the Women’s War Memorial. For more information, please call Commander Ralph Pointer, at (918) 258-9855.

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Dan Boren Promotes ‘National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week’

February 13, 2008

The week of February 11th-15th has been designated, “National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week.” US Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) tells the Muskogee Phoenix:

At long last, it’s a new day for America’s veterans. For years the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budgets have barely, if at all, kept up with inflation. This year Congress has kept its promise to honor veterans with substantial budget increases.

On his Washington website, Boren writes:

At 155 VA hospitals all across our nation, there are veterans everyday who face the physical and mental wounds of combat long after their military service is complete. We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to them, but we have a moral obligation to thank and support them with our words and our deeds.

If you live near a VA hospital or clinic, take the time this week to visit and say “thank you” to our veterans. Those two simple words can make a big difference in the lives of those who have done so much for us.

If you don’t live near a VA hospital or clinic, then call someone you know who has served in uniform and thank them for their service. If you’re traveling through an airport and see a young serviceman or woman departing for training or combat, walk a few steps and let these veterans of tomorrow know you are grateful for their service. A few steps and a few words can go a long way.

Protecting the Families of America’s Heroes

March 6, 2007

This is the second of three weeks devoted to considering bills and resolutions on the Senate floor. We are wading through bills that originated in the Senate, while our colleagues in the House of Representatives are considering those measures that originated in that body.

While fewer bills were approved by committees than in past years, still hundreds of measures are being explained and debated. Just moments before I write this week’s column, the Senate passed a bill that was requested by the people I represent.

We in southern Oklahoma share a solemn commitment to honor the memory of our fallen heroes who sacrifice their lives so that we my live free. As we in southern Oklahoma know all too well, there are some woefully misguided individuals – sick people, really – who use the funerals of our fallen war dead as a platform for their twisted political agenda.

Last year, we in the Oklahoma Legislature passed one of the strongest laws in the nation to put a clamp on these individuals who dishonor the memories of Oklahoma’s and America’s heroes. Under that law, the picketing cannot occur from one hour before the funeral until one our after it, and the picketers have to be at least 500 feet away.

The law we passed last year is an extraordinarily strong statement against this abuse of our right to free speech. It was as far as we believed the courts would let us go to protect the families of our fallen heroes.

Now, it is time we “push the envelope.” Our heroes deserve to have their memories respected, and families have the inalienable right to mourn a loss none of us can even imagine.

Senate Bill 756, which passed just moments before this column is written, would extend the time before and after a funeral during which picketing is illegal from one hour to three hours. Also, the bill would make it illegal to picket a funeral within 1,000 feet of the ceremony during the forbidden hours.

Certainly, no one wants to curtail the right to free speech; it is one of the principles for which our heroes put their lives on the line. Still, families have the free speech right to mourn in their own way and without interference from people seeking to use a personal tragedy for a political platform.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously. I have high hopes our colleagues in the House of Representatives will speak as strongly and as quickly to protect the memories of our honored dead.