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Basic trainees honor veterans at Fort Sill National Cemetery

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:37 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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ELGIN, Okla. (KSWO) - Veterans of all military branches are buried at Fort Sill National Cemetery in Elgin and Tuesday, basic trainees paid them a visit to clean up the grounds and honor their memories.

Headstones were scrubbed, limbs were cleared and weeds were pulled across the cemetery, all as a thank you for serving our country.

“It’s the one chance to give back to them. They made the ultimate sacrifice and it’s the least we can do. If all of the soldiers before us and the service members could look down from Heaven, I think they would be extremely proud of these trainees. Extremely proud,” said Staff Sgt. Cheylese Dross.

“They gave the greatest sacrifice that soldiers can give, most of these individuals. Giving back and respecting their families and respecting their names and respecting what they’ve done to our country is extremely important,” said Specialist William Locke.

Staff Sgt. Dross said she hopes this teaches a valuable lesson to our nation’s future soldiers.

“Some of them have never volunteered before so this is their first kind of taste of doing something for a bigger cause. We preach to them all the time that you have to be part of something bigger than yourself, that’s a key part of being part of the Army. This gives them that first initial doing something for the community,” Dross said.

And it’s not just about giving back to those who came before but showing what potentially could still be to come.

“For me it makes it real. There’s your final resting place, this is what is ultimately going to happen. It hits home, being able to respect them, take a little time out of your day to go help out and honor the families is extremely important to me and I hope that message translates across the board,” Locke said.

“This puts it in perspective. They know people have fallen before them. They’ve seen and heard rumors and seen other people go through it but they’ve never actually had to experience the hardship. This is something they share with the people who have fallen before us. It’s important, it humbles them I think,” Dross said.

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