PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Lisa Ridge never knew her grandfather, but she will speak for him and his fallen shipmates when the USS Oklahoma Memorial is dedicated today.
A teacher from Indiana, Ridge will be among the speakers at today's noon dedication of the memorial to the 429 who died on the ship on Dec. 7, 1941.
Between 800 and 1,000 people — many of them Oklahomans — are expected to be at the ceremony.
Ridge's grandfather, Petty Officer Paul Andrews Nash, was 26 when he died in Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
Her grandmother wouldn't talk much about him, Ridge said.
"It really was hard for Granny to talk about it,” Ridge said. "My mother told me some things.”
Ridge's mother had died in 2001. Her grandmother died Dec. 6, 2006, while Ridge was at Pearl Harbor for the groundbreaking for the memorial.
A sister-in-law told Ridge, "Your granny wanted to be with your mom to watch you at the groundbreaking,” said Ridge, whose home is in New Lebanon, Ind.
A part of history
Ridge has been to Oklahoma City twice in the past year in connection with USS Oklahoma events.
In 2006, she brought her grandfather's uniform to a ceremony at the state Capitol Blue Room where Gov. Brad Henry presented a $100,000 check from the Oklahoma Centennial Commission to Paul Goodyear, a USS Oklahoma survivor, for the memorial.
Goodyear has been at the forefront of efforts over the years to get a memorial built for the USS Oklahoma.
Ridge first learned about Goodyear more than 10 years ago when he sent a letter to her grandmother regarding the USS Oklahoma.
"It was addressed to her married name at the time of Pearl Harbor,” Ridge said.