LAWTON, Okla._ Flags were flying high across southwest Oklahoma today in honor of our veterans, including the 26th annual Veterans Day celebration at Sunset Memorial Garden.
Oklahoma state representative Don Armes gave the keynote speech at the ceremony, a call to action for teens and young adults, encouraging them to get off their smart phones and get plugged in to those who've died to preserve our freedom.
A celebration of hard work, dedication and achievements is what today was about in northwest Lawton – a day of reflection, remembrance and praise for those who have fought and those who continue to fight for our country's freedom.
Rhea Patterson's husband was in the army for 23 years and served two tours in the Korea and one in Vietnam.
"We were married for 58 years," Patterson said. "We had a good life together."
He passed away in 2010 and she continues to celebrate his life and all he taught her.
"He instilled in all of us the pride and love of our country," she said.
More than a dozen organizations were involved in the ceremony, including the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Society of Military Widows, and Michael George, a Vietnam veteran, was with the Military Order of the World Wars.
"I think about the soldiers I lost in Vietnam," said George, who served in the army for 24 years.
He spoke today about how soldiers continue to be just as important in maintaining our freedom and democracy. He also recognized the tough job they've had in Afghanistan and Iraq, many who have served in multiple deployments.
"They're dedicated to the freedoms we have in this country," said George.
Veterans said to never take for granted the joy it truly is to be called an American, and they hope our country's freedoms are preserved and made a top priority forever.