Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahomans joined the rest of the nation Monday in remembering the men and women who have died in service to the country.
Fallen soldiers were honored at a ceremony Monday morning at the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City. Military and civilian organizations were represented with Color Guards at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
The "Governor's Own" Oklahoma National Guard's 145th Army Band provided music for the event and Major General Myles Deering gave the keynote address.
The 45th always observes Memorial Day in a big way. Those who went know what Memorial Day is all about. And those who didn't go, do they remember? The Adjutant General of Oklahoma wonders about that.
"Surprisingly, many citizens of this great country, The United States Of America, either do not know why we observe this national day or choose to ignore it," said Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, Adjutant General of Oklahoma.
Has Memorial Day been drained of its meaning by an indifferent public? NEWS9 talked with some veterans who say while that may have been true in the past, the times are changing. United States Air Force veteran Bois Marable says recent events have made a difference.
"I think the continuing service of our guys in foreign theaters right now, they should be home. They have to do that to keep us safe," said Marable.
Former Tinker Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Burpee was a fighter pilot in Vietnam, when anti-military sentiment ran high. He saw something different at an airport recently.
"I heard everyone clapping and applauding, and I looked up on the veranda area, and there was a whole group of soldiers that had just come back from Iraq," said Burpee.
The crowd at the 45th applauded too, showing its devotion to those who gave the last full measure.
Monday's ceremony at the 45th included the unveiling of the new Bill Mauldin stamp. Mauldin, a member of the 45th, gained fame with his World War II "Willie and Joe" cartoons which are on display at the museum.
Special Section: Oklahoma's Fallen Heroes
In Washington, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was the scene of a solemn ceremony where the names of six American servicemen were recently added to The Wall.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, will remember the men and women who have fallen in service to their country during the annual observance.
According to the Memorial Fund web site, the Memorial Day ceremony is hosted yearly by the Fund and the National Park Service to pay tribute to members of America's armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and in all conflicts.