GIV­ING THANKS

CER­E­MONY HON­ORS VETERANS AT 45TH IN­FANTRY DIVI­SION MU­SEUM

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - FROM STAFF RE­PORTS

The men and women who have served, and those cur­rently serv­ing across all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, were hon­ored Satur­day dur­ing a Veterans Day cer­e­mony at the 45th In­fantry Divi­sion Mu­seum in Ok­la­homa City.

Dozens of vis­i­tors at­tended the cer­e­mony, which fea­tured a num­ber of pa­tri­otic songs performed by the Ok­la­homa Army Na­tional Guard’s 145th Army Band. The Gover­nor’s Honor Guard pre­sented and posted the col­ors shortly after the cer­e­mony be­gan.

“We re­mem­ber those who in the last cen­tury paid the supreme sacrifice for our free­doms and we honor those many veterans now serv­ing in all branches,” mu­seum cu­ra­tor Michael E. Gon­za­lez said be­fore in­tro­duc­ing key­note speaker Brig. Gen. Louis Wil­ham, in­terim ad­ju­tant gen­eral for the Ok­la­homa Na­tional Guard.

Wil­ham thanked the veterans and their fam­i­lies and spoke of how it has been his honor for the past sev­eral months to lead the more than 10,000 men and women of the Ok­la­homa Army and Air Na­tional Guard.

He spoke at length of what it meant to serve in the Armed Forces, say­ing

many felt a call­ing to de­fend their coun­try dur­ing WWI, WWII and other con­flicts and that many also joined to es­cape dif­fi­cul­ties in their lives.

“Oth­ers over the years saw the mil­i­tary as a way out of a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion or place. Many joined be­cause they hoped for the op­por­tu­nity to be judged by their mer­its rather than by their race,

reli­gion, creed, color or gen­der,” Wil­ham said.

“To me, serv­ing in the uni­form of our na­tion tran­scends wars and time and branches of ser­vice. To me, what it means to serve is to be bound to­gether to our coun­try and to each other by a com­mon set of ideals that we swear to while we are serv­ing and which we hope­fully can keep for­ever as fel­low veterans.”

He asked all veterans, dur­ing what he de­scribed as an era of “seem­ing di­vi­sive­ness, ha­tred and anger” in the na­tion, to lead by ex­am­ple and to be true to the shared be­liefs, ideals and val­ues in­stilled through­out all branches.

[PHO­TOS BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Mil­i­tary honor guards present the col­ors Satur­day.

TOP PHOTO: Seth Thomas, 8, salutes dur­ing the Veterans Dayc­er­e­mony at the 45th In­fantry Divi­sion Mu­seum in Ok­la­homa City on Satur­day.

Ret. Capt. Mike Beck­ett prays Satur­day dur­ing the Veterans Day cer­e­mony.

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