Community gathers to celebrate Armed Forces Day - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Community gathers to celebrate Armed Forces Day

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - People lined the streets of downtown this morning to kick off the annual Armed Forces Day parade.

More than 100 participants marched in Lawton Fort Sill's procession. The Lawton High School band, the Marine Corps League, American Heritage Girls and many others were among those in the parade. This day is just one way to pay tribute to the men and women who serve the United States Armed Forces. The parade began on 6th street and ended on the corner of Fort Sill Boulevard and Ferris Avenue.

"I think it's important for the soldiers to see that their communities and their nation does love them, respect them and appreciate what they do,” said Colonel Jim Payne.

Respect is one of many things this community showed for Its Armed Forces today. As for Colonel Jim Payne and his 26 years of service, he says this event gives him a sense of pride.

"It's a great opportunity for us to mix and mingle and to really think about what service to nation really means. I think that's not only important for the folks you see in formation here behind me, but really for the entire Lawton community,” said Payne.

Bonnie Pendleton is retired Army who works at the hospital at Fort Sill. She said joining the Army at age 40 was all about putting others before herself.

"I felt a calling that I could provide services to the service members and then when I was medically retired from the army, so I felt it was important to give to my community,” said Pendleton.

Pendleton also says she pays tribute because it's less than one percent of our population that sacrifices their life, time and family to serve our country.

"It continues to tell the soldiers hey we're backing you, we got you and we appreciate and respect everything you're doing for our country,” said Pendleton.

Payne hopes this day will encourage people to do your own service, even if you're not in a uniform. 

"When you think of your nation and service to our country, I think all of us in the community can serve our country and it doesn't have to be in uniform, it can be how you interact with your fellow man on the street or if you do charitable work in the community,” said Payne.

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