Veterans Keep True Meaning of Memorial Day Alive

LAWTON, Okla_From humble beginnings at Bunker Hill to the lonely hills of Afghanistan, more than one million men and women have suffered the greatest consequence of war defending our freedom.

So Monday at Lawton's Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery veterans, friends and family of our fallen soldiers gathered to pay their respects and honor our country for Memorial Day.

As a the sounds of "Taps" range through the air, it served as a somber reminder of the sacrifice so many have made, the reason behind Memorial Day.

But veteran Luis Cantu worries people have lost sight of that meaning.

"The children will probably say, 'Dad when are we gonna light up the grill? When are we gonna go to the swimming pool?' But that's far away from what this day really is, " said Cantu.

He served the country for 28 years, and even Monday, in spite of his own sacrifices, shifted his focus to others.

"It means a lot. Maybe not so much for us personally but for the widows. Their husbands or wives in some cases have passed away or have been killed in action, " Cantu said.

Widows like Jessie Brundige. Her husband fought in two wars, and now she fights for the rights for the spouses of fallen soldiers. Monday was emotional for her as she laid a wreath in honor of her husband and so many others.

"Brings back sadness, brings back all the old memories, but I think it's a good thing, " Brundige said.

Her hope is people don't just remember to honor our service men and women on the designated days but every day.

"This is an ongoing thing and we need to keep it in the forefront, " Brundige said. "Because we still have men in wars and in danger, and we need to keep them in the forefront. We need to be thankful for what they're doing."

State Representative Ann Coody attended three ceremonies on Memorial Day. She said the sights of the day's events are a reminder of how lucky we are.

"I love America. And I love the privilege of living in America. And I know that we wouldn't be able to live in free, wonderful America if it were not for our beloved soldiers and veterans, " Coody said.

Coody says she feels blessed to know she lives in a country where so many are willing to give their "today" for our nation's "tomorrow".

"If we're to have a free America always then we need to realize that it didn't just happen. That we became America because of men and women who were willing to die for our country, " said Coody.

Sunset Memorial Cemetery is an open cemetery, but they place a special emphasis on fallen servicemen. Monday's ceremony was the 25th of its kind.