Tramel: Harold Holden's statue honors the men lost in the Oklahoma State plane crash
In 2001, Harold Holden was asked to create a memorial to honor those killed when a plane carrying 10 members of the Oklahoma State University basketball program crashed in Colorado. Holden's kneeling cowboy has become a symbol of mourning for the university and the state.
KREMLIN — Harry Birdwell drove over from Stillwater 10 years ago and told Harold Holden what Oklahoma State University wanted. A life-sized tribute to the 10 men who died in the 2001 OSU basketball plane crash.
Videoview all videos
Jan 24While more than a decade has passed since 10 members of...
Jan 21Former OSU Athletic Director Harry Birdwell tells the...
Photoview all photos
NewsOK Related Articles
Holden, a renowned Oklahoma sculptor, pulled out a piece of paper and, Birdwell says, within a minute or two sketched out what you see today in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
A kneeling bronze cowboy, hat in hand and laid on the ground.
The monument still pulls people to the corner of Gallagher-Iba's south lobby.
Legendary coach Eddie Sutton stops by and gazes at the memorial when he comes to a Cowboy game. So does Birdwell, the school's athletic director back in 2001. And family members of the victims. And OSU fans. Even visitors routinely stop by the “We Will Remember” exhibit in the otherwise rowdy coliseum.
Birdwell still marvels at how quickly Holden free-handed that broken-hearted cowboy. Says that a little bit of the cowboy's head was changed from the original drawing, but otherwise, what Birdwell saw on paper moments into that first meeting is what we now revere as a symbol of a school's and a state's mourning.
Holden, a renowned Oklahoma sculptor who smiles easily and talks sparingly, says it actually took him a little bit longer than that. But not much. Holden immediately felt what Birdwell felt. What everyone associated with OSU felt.
Thursday is the 10-year anniversary of the crash, and today's Oklahoman sports section commemorates the occasion with a remembrance of the 10 men.
Not collectively. Individually.
For most of us, the plane crash was a tragedy that took 10 lives. Killed 10 men. Some Oklahomans knew them all. Some of us knew some. Some knew none.
For most of us, the plane crash was a singular tragedy. But in truth, the plane crash was 10 tragedies.
Those close to Kendall Durfey, Bjorn Fahlstrom, Nate Fleming, Will Hancock, Daniel Lawson, Brian Luinstra, Denver Mills, Pat Noyes, Bill Teegins and Jared Weiberg were crushed most by the loss of one. Their one.
The death of a loved one, be it alone or along with thousands, is no more or less sorrowful.
Which brings us back to Harold Holden and why his statue resonates with so many. The grieving cowboy was born from personal anguish.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 101218Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15357OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents
- 13402Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 8724Line of storms brings flash floods to Oklahoma City area
- 8110How to help tornado victims
- 8098Oklahoma tornadoes: Love for Oklahoma generates big donation
- 8041Oklahoma tornadoes: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford leading aid effort