NORMAN — “Two and a half million men and women died so we could stand here today,” Norman VFW member Donald Schulenberg told guests at the IOOF Cemetery on Memorial Day.
A handful of veterans and their families gathered at the cemetery on Monday for a Memorial Day service to honor American soldiers who have fallen.
“Some will host family reunions, some will partake in community events such as parades or host cookouts with friends,” said Col. Michael Kinnison, key speaker at the service.
Kinnison said Memorial Day generally marks the first vacation we get of the year and many people may set off fireworks, but none of those things mourn the dead.
“We must never forget the true purpose of Memorial Day. It's about remembering our fallen and honoring them by sharing their stories of their ultimate sacrifice in exchange for our freedom,” Kinnison said.
A local Boy Scout troop learned the gravity the day can hold for many of those who visit their loved ones on the holiday. Troop 241, chartered by McFarlin Memorial United Methodist in Norman, goes to Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery to hand out flags, helping people find gravesites and offering any assistance they could every year.
“They're youngsters, there's not a lot in their life they're forced to take seriously. But here, they meet people that take this very seriously and it kind of rubs off on them,” said Scoutmaster Alan Atkinson. “It’s a great point of contact for these young men with a generation that they don’t always have contact with.”
Atkinson said for those who are not from a military family, it gives them a way to connect directly when they see veterans and their families coming out.
Typically thousands of American flags are handed out by the troop at Sunset Memorial Park but with many people’s attention still on the tragedy in Moore, the troop said not as many people visited the cemetery.