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Oklahoma Honor Flights Honors WWII Veterans

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Lawton, Ok_World War II Veterans and their families filled the auditorium, Friday, at the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center. 

The idea for the ceremony was inspired by the Oklahoma Honor Flights, which takes Vets to the memorials in Washington D.C.  Because some vets are medically unable to make that trip, they decided to honor the veterans here, with a "Parade of Patriots".  The ceremony was part of Operation 4G.

Jana Barker from the board of the Oklahoma Honor Flights said the Vets honored today are part of the grounded, greatest generation.  "The WWII Veterans didn't have any kind of welcome service, they didn't have anything to tell them how grateful we are to be a free nation and to be saved from WWII," Barker said.

The 88 Veterans were recognized today by name and branch of service.  Gary Banz, co-founder and Executive Director of Oklahoma Honor Flights said after his experience at the dedication of the memorial in D.C. with his own father and four uncles, he realized the need to start this program.

"That memorial was built so late in their lives that unless somebody intervened on their behalf and acted on their behalf perhaps they perhaps they would not have an opportunity to see the memorial," Banz said.

8 vets from Lawton went on one of the honor flights in May 2012 and Veteran Marvin Moore said that it was well worth the trip.  "It was all a great feeling to think about the guys that lost their lives," Moore said.

At today's ceremony the Veterans were escorted by ROTC members and each given a commemorative coin from the memorial.  This was the first of seven ceremonies to recognize these special veterans.

So far, the Oklahoma Honor Flights have taken more than 1,000 veterans on flights to visit the memorials in Washington D.C.

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