Dawn of Hope
Sponsor: Edmond Visual Arts Commission partnered with Edmond Parks Foundation
“Dawn of Hope,” or as it is popularly known, “The Russell Daugherty Statue” commemorates the many young men and women from Edmond who served our country during World War II. Daugherty, a 24 year old co-pilot on a B-24 Liberator bomber flying out of Guadalcanal in the Pacific was the first young man from Edmond to die in WWII when he was killed along with his entire crew when his aircraft failed to clear jungle trees at the end of the runway. Surrounding the memorial, engraved paving stones, bear the names and unit designations of many other WWII veterans and defense workers associated with Edmond, who set aside their other dreams and aspirations to answer their nation’s call in a time of crisis.
The title, “The Dawn of Hope” was chosen to recognize that before US Marines landed on Guadalcanal, the Japanese had been victorious in every campaign. After American troops were firmly established on Guadalcanal, to include Daugherty’s Bomber Group, the Japanese never advanced another inch. Years of hard fighting lay ahead, but the tide had been turned, and the sacrifices of men just like Russell Daugherty marked not the end of the fighting, not victory, but the beginning of the end for the Japanese and “The Dawn of Hope” for the allies.
The “Dawn of Hope” purports to depict Daugherty on the last dawn of his life, heading to his aircraft. He has picked up his parachute and looks up as the sun clears the trees, with its glare reflecting from the lenses of his sunglasses. Because the statue faces east, that same sun catches Russell’s sunglasses every day, just as it did that fateful morning on Guadalcanal.
“Dawn of Hope” life- sized bronze by Oklahoma artist Mary Lou Gresham, is located in front of Russell Daugherty elementary school on N. Boulevard. It was dedicated in 2009 and was sponsored by the Edmond Parks Foundation.