Dedication to help bring one family full circle

By John Greiner Modified: December 7, 2007 at 10:26 am •  Published: December 7, 2007
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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Two relatives of the woman who christened the USS Oklahoma for its maiden voyage will be at the dedication of the ship's memorial today at Pearl Harbor.

Lorena Cruce, daughter of Oklahoma's second governor, Lee Cruce, christened the ship on March 23, 1914.

She traveled from Oklahoma to Camden, N.J., to throw a bottle of champagne against the ship's bow, and the family still has a plaque with a crocheted bag holding the remnants of the champagne bottle, said Lorena Cruce Maldonado, her granddaughter.

"It was probably one of the most exciting days of her life,” Maldonado said of her grandmother.

Gov. Cruce's wife died in childbirth, so his daughter, Lorena Cruce, often took the role of first lady, said Maldonado, a school teacher in California.

Gov. Lee Cruce did not go to the launching of the ship, she said.

Lee Cruce served as governor from 1911-1915.

Maldonado and her uncle, Thomas Norris of Dallas, are in Hawaii for the dedication. Norris is the son of Lorena Cruce.

Maldonado's aunt, Lee Shaw, a daughter of Lorena Cruce, has the plaque with the remnants of the champagne bottle, but was unable to attend, Maldonado said.

Looking back
Maldonado's mother, the daughter of Lorena Cruce, died in April 2006.

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Lorena Cruce Maldonado is shown Thursday in Honolulu. Maldonado's grandmother christened the the USS Oklahoma. By John Clanton, The Oklaho
Dedication speakers
Adm. Timothy Keating, U.S. Pacific Command; Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii; Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle; Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry; Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii; Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City; Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore; Assistant Secretary of the Interior Lyle Laverty; Lisa Ridge, granddaughter of an Oklahoma crew member killed that day; and Ed Vezey, a USS Oklahoma survivor

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