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Duncan groups come together to honor brothers in arms

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DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Veteran organizations in Duncan joined together for the first time to honor the memory of those who lost their lives to ensure our freedom.

"I was proud that we were able to bring us all together," said Tim Zinn, commander of the Duncan branch of the Disabled American Veterans.

"We all bleed red, and in our hearts we all bleed red, white and blue."

Zinn says over the years there's been animosity among the different groups, and he wanted to see that come to an end. He says Memorial Day seemed like the perfect day to show other veterans that they can get along, and given the sacrifice of their fallen comrades, unity was a small price to pay. 

With anything that's a first, there was tons of excitement in the air. Speaking with several members of the military, both active duty and veterans, you could just feel their passion for the ceremony.

Zinn was one of many who gathered at Memorial Park to pay their respects for those who lost their life while serving our country.

"We're not having barbecues and we're not celebrating and we're not going to the lake and swimming and fish to have a good time. We're here to remember those that have given everything they've got for our country and for us," Zinn said.

Loved ones laid wreaths on the memorial set aside in their honor.

Zinn says after two tours of duty in the Vietnam War, he vows to make sure every veteran is remembered. Something he says the new generation of veterans will help carry on through their military service.

"It renewed my faith that our country will endure, because these young men have the strength to do anything they have to do to keep this country strong," Zinn said.

Fort Sill Private First Class Josh Conine says Zinn has been a family friend for close to 10 years and he considers him a brother. He says Zinn's mentorship has guided him into the military and helped him to be all that he can be.

"He gives me something to look up to, I love that. That's the whole reason why I joined, because of that man," Pfc. Conine said.

Zinn says knowing that his time in the military wasn't in vain, he can now find peace with his sacrifice. A sacrifice Conine says wasn't insignificant.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished here today. I'm really hoping that the people of Duncan can see how important this day is,” Zinn said.

"If I don't honor him, then what am I doing. If I don't honor any of these veterans, what am I doing," Conine said.

More than 100 people were in attendance at the ceremony.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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