Oklahomans Honor War Heroes At Fort Gibson National Cemetery
FORT GIBSON, Oklahoma - It was a somber reminder of why we observe Memorial Day, as another Oklahoman was killed in action.
The Department of Defense announced that Shawnee native, Eric Warren, died Sunday in Afghanistan from wounds he received from an IED.
Warren is the latest in a long line of men and women who have given their lives for the United States. Memorial Day, folks from across Oklahoma gathered at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery to honor their memory.
For some, Memorial Day is all about cookouts and hanging out by the pool. But many people say the day is truly about remembering and thanking those who served our country.
As flags flew high, hundreds paid respect to the country's war heroes.
"It was welcoming from the highway with all the flags lining the streets," Erica Starkey said. "It just feels really good.
"We just came to pay tribute to my dad Franklin Starkey," she said. "He served in the Vietnam War. He was on the front lines. He was proud to have served."
More than 160,000 veterans lie at Fort Gibson National Cemetery, including Victor Johnson's father Bill.
"We just come out here every year to decorate and listen to the festivities out here," Victor Johnson said
Vets from all military branches, the local American Legion Post and the Cherokee and Keetoowah Band honor guards all took part in making the day special.
"I think it's an awesome deal," Johnson said. "People get a chance to come out and recognize their passed loved ones from any type of conflict that we've had."
Those in charge of the cemetery say every day is Memorial Day at Fort Gibson and many veterans agree.
"We should really commemorate the service for the jobs that they've done, and I think this is one way of doing it," veteran Bill Huber said.
After the ceremony, some placed flowers near their loved one's tombstones. And others gathered around to share their fondest memories of the person they've lost.
Everyone at the cemetery also paused for a minute to take part in the national moment of silence.