Will Rogers Remembered in Varied Tributes

In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the deaths of Will Rogers and Wiley Post in an Alaskan plane crash, observances were held at four widely scattered sites on August 15.

More than 60 pilots and over 1,000 spectators participated in the annual fly-in at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch at Oologah, Okla. Steve Gragert, director of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, gave recognition to military aviation veterans and active duty personnel at the tribute.

Across the state, a ceremony was held at Wiley Post’s graveside in Memorial Park Cemetery in Oklahoma County.

In California, where Rogers was living with his wife Betty at the time of his death in 1935, relatives of some Hollywood stars who had appeared in movies with the famous Oklahoma humorist joined in an event at the family ranch in Will Rogers Historic Park in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

The tribute in Alaska, where the crash occurred, followed the annual Claire Okpeaha Memorial Run, named for the native who witnessed the tragedy and carried the word 15 miles to Barrow.

This year marked the first time four simultaneous events were conducted.

Haught as Rogers

Haught as Rogers

NSNC Newsletter Editor Robert Haught received a favorable mention in an editorial about Will Rogers in The Oklahoman, where he was a political humor columnist for 18 years.

Published August 15, the editorial recalled the Rogers wit that made him such a beloved figure in American life before he and fellow Oklahoman Wiley Post were killed in a plane crash 75 years ago.

“Our former colleague Robert Haught was a master at recasting the humor of Will Rogers to fit contemporary events,” the editorial said. “This not only showed Haught’s adoration of Rogers. It also revealed the timeless nature of the humorist’s musings.”

The Oklahoma City newspaper quoted some of Rogers’ cowboy philosophy which still holds true today:

“Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.”

“People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”

“It’s easy being a humorist when you’ve got the whole government working for you.”

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