(The following is updated and reposted from an article I originally distributed in 2008 on publications which are no longer active.) Ralph and Jene are my parents, and I’m very proud of them.
On December 7, 2007 (Pearl Harbor Day), a monument was dedicated in the Broken Arrow (OK) Veteran’s Park (MAP), memorializing the women of the United States who have served their country. The memorial began as the dream of Jene Pointer, who at the time was the 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,
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
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…”
(Jene Pointer’s letter was 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.
Enjoy these current photos taken this weekend at Veterans Park, where the memorial is located.