LAWTON, Okla._Many local veterans kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with an early observance honoring the men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Veterans at the Lawton-Fort Sill Veteran's Center were joined by several guests as they reflected on the sacrifices made by those who have served our great nation.
"I thought I just haven't done as much as I could and I went out of my way to return to active duty," said retired Lt. Col. Brandenburg.
After serving as an infantryman in the mid 1950's, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Brandenburg felt the call again to serve in 1965.
"Well some of my relatives asked, 'well what happens if you don't come back from Vietnam?' I said that would be alright. I said if I come home, that's ok. If I don't come home, that's ok too," said Lt. Col. Brandenburg.
He continued to serve in the U.S. Army until 1985. For the staff at the veteran's center however, they say every day is Memorial Day. They all recognize the lives that were lost and are honored to work and care for the veterans.
"All of us here at the veteran's center are very proud to work here and honored that we can serve our veterans. It's just a real privilege to do that, to give back to them because they have given us so much," said Teresa Aldridge, recreational supervisor.
The veterans appreciate the "thank you for your service" handshake and the Memorial Day services.
"You know, it's hard to express and put into words with true sense and meaning of the impact but I feel it," said Lt. Col. Brandenburg.
Really, they are thankful for the chance to serve our country in times when many didn't.
"I'm just proud to be a veteran," said Lt. Col. Brandenburg. "The most important thing in my life is the religion that I have and the particular church I go to and the second most important aspect of my life is that I have served and I am a veteran and I can't put that into words."