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WWII Veteran gets Visit

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LAWTON, Okla._A true war hero was honored today by a visit from a current army brigade historian in hopes to get veterans back in touch with current service members. Thurman Keeler is a world war two veteran and was a member of the 101st Airborne Division, commonly known as the screaming eagles. His unit was part of the Normandy invasion, so he has quite a story to share. A couple of months ago, Thurman Keeler contacted the brigade historian through The Veterans Center in Lawton, where he lives. His health has declined since then, so, the visiting historian had to rely on family members for help with his story.  But, it's an effort he says is worthwhile.

"I think it is very important to recognize the veterans because back then, yes they were recognized for the times they served then but as time goes by they end up being forgotten," said Ryan Niebuhr.

Chief Warrant Officer, Ryan Niebuhr presented Keeler with a t-shirt and cards from his brigade. Keeler received two purple hearts and several other awards for his service. Keeler wasn't able to tell me himself, but his sister, Stella Burke tells me one of his purple hearts is from being shot during the Normandy invasion.

"I know he got shot, and at one point something blew up because I know he was running putting things somewhere. Something blew up and that burned his face," said Stella Burke.

Burke says that Keeler has always been proud of his service.

"He was a paratrooper and he loved that. That was the most exciting thing he'd ever done in his life was jump from a airplane," said Burke.

Burke says she was happy to be there today with Keeler.

"Even though he doesn't really participate anymore, we don't guess but hopefully he knows more of what's going on than what he shows," said Burke.

Niebuhr says the army tries to recognize veterans as much as possible. Today's recognition will be documented in a weekly report he sends to the unit, which helps keep the connection to their past alive.

"So that all service members can say hey these guys are what we came from. We are continuing on the honor that was served before us," said Niebuhr.

The stories Keeler has shared are countless, he didn't even weigh one hundred pounds when he first joined the army and he was even considered missing in action for several months during WWII.

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