Several ceremonies to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country are planned on Memorial Day in Comanche and Stephens counties.
Fort Sill National Cemetery
The Department of Veterans Affairs will host a ceremony at 10 a.m. at Fort Sill National Cemetery, 2648 NE Jake Dunn Road, Elgin. A rifle salute and Taps are part of the ceremony, said Matthew Priest, assistant director of the Oklahoma National Cemetery Complex.
“We want to honor all those who wore a uniform before us,” Priest said.
Keynote speaker is Chaplain Carmen Martinez-Perez from the 2-6 ADA Battalion at Fort Sill. Guest speaker is Capt. Jordan M. Underwood, executive officer at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
The ceremony will last approximately an hour, and on-site parking is available. Priest encourages visitors to arrive 10-20 minutes early, since the ceremony will start on time.
The Fires Center of Excellence will host a Memorial Day Observance at noon at Fort Sill in front of McNair Hall, 455 McNair Road.
“This Memorial Day, we mourn our fallen heroes while celebrating their extraordinary lives and unwavering allegiance,” Don Herrick, Fort Sill and Fires Center of Excellence public affairs officer, said in a release. “Their supreme sacrifice embodies the core Army values. It is our privilege and duty to ignite a resounding National Salute, etching their eternal legacy in memory.”
The public is invited; however, visitors need to have a gate pass from the Fort Sill Visitor Welcome Center or a military ID.
Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery
Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 8700 Cache Road, will host a ceremony at 2 p.m. with representatives from the military as well as the Lawton Rangers with the Riderless Horse. Free hotdogs, soda, chips, water and popcorn are provided.
In addition to those events around Lawton, the Stephens County Honor Guard is hosting events in Stephens County in cooperation with AMVETS, VFW, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion.
The main ceremony will take place at noon at the Memorial Park in Duncan.
In addition to the event in Duncan, the Stephens County Honor Guard will host two more events on Memorial Day: At 10 a.m. at the Fairlawn Cemetery in Comanche, and at 2 p.m. at the Marlow Cemetery in Marlow.
“It is a privilege to recognize those who gave everything for our country,” Dan Davis, AMVETS Commander, said in a release. “We welcome the community to join us for a short ceremony as we reflect and give thanks for their sacrifice.”
The events are a joint effort by military service organizations across Stephens County. They will recognize those lost in each of the five military branches, as well as the Merchant Marines and POW/MIA, by posting military service flags, laying of memorial wreaths, a rifle volley tribute to all past military members, Taps and remarks from area legislators, according to the release.