NORMAN — About 40 WWII vets recognized at dinner
With Friday’s 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in mind, the American Legion honored approximately 40 WWII veterans for their service during a dinner Saturday afternoon.
Ernest Martin, post commander of Norman American Legion Post 88, said the Legion are happy to acknowledge the service of members from “The Greatest Generation” — both those who served time in the military as well as family and spouses who supported the cause.
Guest speakers, University of Oklahoma ROTC Lt. Colonel Mark Depew and Oklahoma National Guard Maj. Gen. Myles L. Deering, were on hand for comments.
Deering said it was an honor and a privilege to be in attendance.
“You are my heroes,” Deering said as he addressed the veterans. “I’m very particular who I give the hero badge out to because too many times in our world, we throw the word ‘hero’ out to those who really don’t deserve that distinction. I reserve the word ‘hero’ for the veterans, for those men and women who have served so graciously in our military, who have given everything they have for the protection of our freedoms.”
Mabel-Ruth “Mike” Stephanic, a 93-year-old veteran, served a little more than three years in Europe as an Army nurse. After her little brother had been deployed for a year, Stephanic felt it was her turn.
Working in surgery while she was overseas, Stephanic said when she helped other soldiers she thought of her brother. She described her service experience as being special.
Stephanic said she came to the dinner to enjoy the company.
“There are not a lot of WWII veterans left,” she said, “so whenever they are getting together, I try to be there.”