They fought in places like Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Iwo Jima, Khe Sahn, Fallujah and Tora Bora — places everyone has heard of.

Places students read about in their history books.

They also fought in places so obscure some really didn’t even have names, but earned such monickers as Iron Bottom Sound, Pork Chop Hill and 73 Easting.

Across the world, in places well known and places unnamed, American men and women have fought — and died — in service to their country. Today, we honor our nation’s fallen heroes.

Memorial Day is so much more than a day off from work; a chance to cook hamburgers out on the grill; the unofficial beginning of summer.

We all should take time today to pause and think about what this day really means.

It means, in large cities and small hamlets across our country, people are remembering sacrifices made generations ago. It means that today, in hundreds of homes, families are gathering to remember the loved ones who no longer are there, who would have occupied the seats, now vacant, at the dinner table.

We enjoy great freedoms in the United States, freedoms that were paid for by the sacrifice of brave souls serving in our military.

Across Northwest Oklahoma, people will be gathering in special services to honor the fallen.

One of the biggest ceremonies will be at Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park. It begins at 10 a.m.

Keynote speaker is John Dwyer, author of the newly released novel “Mustang: An American Odyssey of War and Faith.”

A Blue to Gold ceremony will take place to honor surviving family members of two fallen Oklahomans with commendations from the state Legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt.

A name placement ceremony will follow, adding the names of veterans to the living walls and adding newly verified names to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The program will conclude with a bell being tolled 31 times to remember Oklahoma’s Missing in Action from Vietnam, followed by Taps, played by Johnny Greer, a graduate of Pioneer High School.

A free barbecue dinner will be served to veterans and their families after the ceremonies.

The Lady Liberty, a World War II A-26 vintage aircraft, will be available for tours and pictures. The ML Becker Educational Center will be open for guests until 2 p.m.

We would encourage everyone who can to go out and pay your respects.

Remember these words, often attributed to President Abraham Lincoln:

“Poor is the nation that has no heroes, but beggared is the nation that has and forgets them.”

We are not a poor nation, for we are one full of heroes.

And we have not forgotten them.

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