AZLE, TX (CBSDFW.COM) – Before a family trip to Hawaii, Rob Schocke thought his daughter might want to watch the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor.
At just 11 years old at the time, it took him a few tries to get through the scenes of war.
Already a fan of a Titanic, Michael Bay’s take on the historic day, wrapped around a love story, had her hooked.
However, when they got to the memorial in Honolulu, whatever drama Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett provided for the film began to fade.
Brooke Schocke imagined being there when the attack happened. She was drawn to it.
Her passion for history and a friendship with a survivor led to an unlikely dedication on Wednesday, March 30 at Azle High School.
A thin piece of rusty metal, filled with holes and jagged edges, was unveiled to a crowd of veterans, friends and students.
Taken from the superstructure of the USS Arizona, it will be on permanent display at the school, more than 3,700 miles from Hawaii.
“It’s a tangible piece of history,” Schocke said during an interview about the relic at her home this week. “They don’t just read it in a book. They see it with their own eyes, and it’s in their school.
Schocke spent years researching the history of Pearl Harbor after his first visit.
There were school projects of course, and even a birthday party where she quizzed her friends on historical facts. Did they come prepared?
“Uh, after I talked about it for months, definitely,” she said with a laugh.
As the number of survivors dwindled over the years, she wanted to meet one of them before it was too late.
Three years ago, the family went to a ceremony in Colorado, in the presence of Donald Stratton. Upon meeting the 96-year-old, Schocke says she just remembers crying.
The meeting led to a relationship with the Stratton family, and in 2020 Randy Stratton mentioned the USS Arizona Relics program, which made parts of the ship available.
Schocke spoke to the principal of his school and, with the help of the Strattons, began working on the process.
Before the Relic arrived this year, she launched A Hero’s Dream.
The non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving the memory of veterans and supporting their needs.
Donald Stratton’s dream, his granddaughter said at the book’s dedication this week, was that no one would ever forget Arizona or Pearl Harbor.
That’s what Schocke hopes the play will do, making the stories of the movies real, so that future generations can make sure they’re never forgotten.