Oklahoma Casualties Database

U.S.S. Oklahoma

Bruesewitz, William

Born with a New Year and a war supreme,
The date January 28, nineteen fifteen;
Died with an Old Year and another War to be won.
That fateful day December 7, nineteen forty-one.
His mother's first child and a noble son,
Like her he sought truth and right;
With sunny smile he'd walk an extra mile
To avoid trouble and shun a fight.
William Bruesewitz our brother's name,
Seventy-two inches tall- every inch a man;
He died a hero's death without fame,
His loss is charged against Japan.
A year ago come Christmas to await,
A letter from him, that never came;
Instead the message: "Missing In Action!"
This Christmas it'll hurt just the same.
They tell us: Remember Pearl Harbor!
And that ill-fated Sabbath of Forty-one;
Now Bill's gone, can we ever forget?
Memory will outlive and eternal sun.
The U.S.S. Oklahoma, guarding Hawaii's gate,
In Pearl Harbor she met the tragic fate
That brought us many grief-stricken tears.
There, mighty battleship, she lay at anchor,
Warnings unheeded that peaceful Sunday morn;
When suddenly destruction fell from overhead,
And a thousand Mothers were made to mourn.
Negotiating peace, the Land of the Rising Sun,
With hidden dagger, and like a thief in the night,
Had stealthily stabbed in the back and run-
For them such treachery was might and right.
And William-or plain Bill to you and me,
Died unsung like many a hero dies,
So straight in mind and straight in body-
Now no one knows where his body lies.
His soul we know flies high like our flag unfurled,
Our consolation, like our grief, never to cease;
God claimed him from out a war-torn world,
To His Heavenly Home of Eternal Rest and Peace.
-Norman Kirkland

Oklahoma Historical Society

Oklahoma History Center | 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. | Oklahoma City, OK 73105