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Fort Sill's Memorial Day service

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FORT SILL, Okla._Fort Sill leaders past, present and future honored those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in a special Memorial Day ceremony.

The original order marking Memorial Day as a national holiday was read and moving speeches were given by the commanding general, a cadet from Cameron University and a local VFW Post Commander. Also, a wreath honoring fallen soldiers was placed near the Chief's Knoll.

It was a wet start to the ceremony as it seemed that the much needed rain decided to roll in just before it started, but that did not stop the many who came out to honor those have served our nation and passed away.

"We are gathered here in a moment of remembrance and honor..."

The wreath honoring those who had fallen had three significant colors. Red to signify our devotion to remember, white honoring the courage of those who have fought and lastly blue for eternity, the ever lasting life of the deeds our soldiers have done. After the wreath was placed near Chief's Knoll, speeches given by past, present and future leaders of the military were given.

Cadet Stephen Gilson, a senior at Cameron University, was asked to speak and used his memories of walking through the post's cemetery to prepare it.

"To walk through and to see the silver star after silver star and bronze star after bronze star and purple hearts and POW’s, it's humbling to walk through there and realize so many stories and so many sacrifices are contained in that little section of ground," said Cadet Gilson.

Fort Sill's Commanding General also spoke and said Memorial Day always hits home to him.

"I always think of my father-in-law. He served in the Navy from 1939 to 1945 that's a long time to be in conflict and he was a great man. So I just give thanks to him, but really he is just symbolic of all the women and men who have gone before us and gave their life in service of our nation so this could remain the greatest country on the earth," said Maj. Gen. McDonald.

During his speech, McDonald also did not forget the ones who have to endure the loss of a soldier and wanted to make sure family members of fallen soldiers were not forgotten either.

"If they lost their husband or wife in conflict; they live with that everyday, it doesn't go away. It stays with them and it stays with them for the next 20 or 30 years so they deserve a special mention," said Maj. Gen. McDonald.

Right after the ceremony, Major General McDonald had a special honor for one veteran in attendance. 95-year-old Corporal Rodney Rikli was honored for his service in World War II.

Rikli was stationed at Fort Sill before going to Europe in 1941 and staying there till 1945. He helped liberate Paris and then spent his last couple of years as a military police officer in Germany. This was his first visit back to Fort Sill since then.

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