Oklahoma is the 46th state to enter the Union and the 20th largest and 28th most populated state located in the south central region of the United States of America. Its name has been derived from the roots ‘Okla’ for ‘red’ and ‘Humma’ for ‘people.’ Residents of Oklahoma are sometimes known as ‘Okies.’ On account of a local myth that Oklahomans emerged suddenly out of earth, they are at times known as ‘Sooners’ and Oklahoma is accordingly known as the ‘Sooner State.’ Oklahoma City is the capital and the biggest city of the state. Oklahoma is rich in natural resources like petrol and natural gas as well as fine, cultivable, and habitable land. The state economy depends mostly upon the energy sector, agricultural sector, telecommunications, aviation, and biotechnology. With the exception of a few small mountain ranges, most of Oklahoma lies in the plains. Its climate is moderate but susceptible to severe climatic conditions. Oklahoma is a land of cultural diversity and mergers.
1. Chuck Norris
Carlos Ray Norris, popularly known as Chuck Norris, was born in Ryan, Oklahoma on March 10, 1940. He is a renowned Oklahoman actor and martial artist. He served in the United States Air Force and afterwards founded his school of martial arts known as Chun Kuk Do. Chun Kuk Do, CKD, is a Korean-American hybrid martial art. His image as a tough person prompted ‘Chuck Norris Facts’ on the Internet which points out the extraordinary feats which cannot be performed even by Norris. He is a popular actor and has played important roles in many films; a few of them were played along with Bruce Lee. From 1993 to 2001, he appeared in the television series Texas Ranger and Walker. He is a devout Christian and a conservative politically. He supported the Arkansas Governor in the 2008 elections. He came into prominence after his starring in Breaker! Breaker! and his costarring with Bruce Lee in Way of Dragons.
2. Will Rogers
William Penn Adair Rogers, better known as Will Rogers, was born in Oologah, Indian Territory, currently Oklahoma, on November 4, 1879 and died in Point Barrow on August 15, 1935 at the age of 55. He was an American cowboy, actor, and commentator. In the 1920s and 1930s he was one of the world famous celebrities. He descended from the Cherokee nation and was known as ‘Favorite Son of Oklahoma.’ He wrote more than 4,000 newspaper columns and made 71 movies and 21 talkies. He was the best paid actor in Hollywood during his career. Rogers died along with the aviator Wiley Post when their plane crashed in 1935.
3. Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr.
Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., commonly known as Gordon Cooper, was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma on March 6, 1927 and died in Ventura, California on October 4, 2004 at the age of 77. He was a NASA astronaut and test pilot. He was one of the seven astronauts in Project Mercury which was the first American manned mission in space. As a Life Scout, Gordon Cooper held the second highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America. During the end stages of the Faith 7 flight, there were mission-threatening problems which the cool-headed Oklahoman astronaut handled precisely and proactively. Gordon Cooper flew Gemini 5 as a command pilot while Pete Conrad was also on board. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease and died of a heart attack on October 4, 2004.
4. S. N. Goldman
S. N. Goldman was born on November 15, 1898 and died on November 25, 1984. He belonged to Ardmore, Oklahoma and is best known for the realization of his simple but multi-million-dollar Ideas. He invented the shopping cart which impacted the grocery shopping style all over the world and caused the emergence of supermarkets throughout the world. The big idea was conceived by him in a small office while he was running about ten small stores. Everyone in the tense environment of cut-throat competition was after finding ways and means to increase the selling price to cope with the repercussions of the prevalent war conditions and survive. Goldman contrarily thought of increasing sales instead of increasing the price. He encouraged workers to see the customers fill their baskets and to help them carry their baskets while handing them empty baskets for refilling. He thought of devising a suitable carrier for the purpose and finally succeeded in developing the shopping cart which earned him much more than he would have ever have dreamed of. Goldman also invented the baggage cart and earned numerous honors including an induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and honorary Doctor of Law degree from Oklahoma City University.
5. Patrick Flangan
Gillis Patrick Flangan, usually known as Patrick Flangan, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on October 11, 1944. He is an American inventor and, according to Life magazine he is a ‘unique, mature, and inquisitive scientist.’ While still a teenager he invented a ‘Neurophone’ which, according to him, conveyed sound to the brain via the nervous system. He developed a guided air missile detector and sold it to the U.S. military at the early age of 11 years. He was employed by a think tank at the Pentagon and as a consultant by organizations of world renown like NASA and the Office of Naval Research. Patrick Flangan held the patents of more than 300 inventions.
6. Greg Burns
Greg Burns is a famous Oklahoman artist. He was born with a congenital disorder known as arthrogryposis, which is a medical condition involving curved joints and stiff muscles restricting physical movement of one or more joints or muscles. In spite of being handicapped, he graduated from Oklahoma University, earning his bachelor’s degree in fine arts. His paintings have earned him fame, particularly in Oklahoma, of which he feels ‘I am honored to be from Oklahoma.’ He paints with his teeth and, in his own words, ‘I physically paint with my teeth, but I really paint with my mind. The end justifies the means.’ He draws in pen and ink followed by the use of watercolors. His paintings are realistic and are mostly related to the Oklahoman environment.
7. Paul Harvey
Paul Harvey’s birth name was Paul Harvey Aurandt. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 4, 1918 and died in Phoenix, Arizona on February 28, 2009 at the age of 90. He was a famous Oklahoman radio broadcaster for ABC Radio. Approximately 24 million audiences listened to him weekly. About 1,200 radio stations and 400 Armed Forces Network stations delivered the Paul Harvey News. His broadcasts and newspapers have been preserved in the Congressional Record.
8. Bill Moyers
Bill Moyers was born in Hugo, Oklahoma City, U.S. on June 5, 1934. He was the 13th White House Press Secretary during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. He remained in office from July 8, 1965 to January, 1967. He is a well-known commentator and worked in this capacity on television for about ten years. He is known for criticizing the U.S. media. He is president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy.
9. Shannon Miller
Shannon Miller was born in Rolla Missouri, U.S. but her hometown is Edmond, Oklahoma, U.S. She is considered the greatest gymnast not only in the history of Oklahoma but also in the history of the United States. She is the most decorated Oklahoman gymnast. She has earned 21 medals of which 11 are gold, 6 are silver, and 4 are bronze. She is considered the best gymnast, male or female, which America has ever produced.
10. Carrie Underwood
Carrie Marie Underwood was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on March 10, 1983. She is a famous actress, singer, and songwriter known for her performance of country folk. She likes vocals, guitar, and piano. She was the winner of American Idol in 2005. She has won many awards including a Golden Globe Award and many Grammy Awards. In 2009 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Her album Some Hearts was rated as the Best Country Album of the 2000 decade by Billboard. In June, 2011 Carrie Underwood ranked number 11 as the Queen of the Pop.
More than 20 native languages are spoken in Oklahoma. It is probably on this account that Oklahoma is a junction of diverse American cultural regions. It was a government-approved territory for Native Americans. In addition to the Native American culture, other cultures, especially the Irish, Scottish, German, and English cultures are reflected in the Oklahoman lifestyle. Glimpses over the lives of great Oklahomans like S.N. Goldman reveal that in order to be big, an idea does not have to be complex too. It is, in fact, the perceived usefulness of the idea and its on-time realization to be put into practice that makes the difference.
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