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May 27, 2014

Community shows respect for veterans at special ceremony

NORMAN — As families moved in and out of the IOOF Cemetery for Memorial Day, placing flags and flowers on their loved ones graves, several veterans attended a special ceremony honoring those who served or are currently serving the country.

“We thank you today for attending because it shows your respect for those who have given their all. We thank you for being here because it shows your respect for those who still serve,” said Don Hunter, chaplain of American Legion Post 88 in Norman.

Hunter told attendees Monday that he believes too many people have forgotten what a veteran does. Every veteran signs up and serves as a volunteer. Nobody has forced them to serve, he said.

“Wherever they are in the world today, they have literally signed a blank check that says, ‘I will give everything, up to and including my life, to defend that flag,’” Hunter said.

The chaplain asked people to put aside their politics and support, defend and pray for the nation’s troops.

“They don’t care about politics, they care about our country. They care about the flag that they serve. They care about our people, and they will give their life up in defending it,” Hunter said.

Unfortunately, Hunter said, veterans in our country now are not regarded for what they have done and are not honored for what they’ve done.

He recalled reading about an 89-year-old veteran who had his pension cut from $300 a month to $6 a month because of a Veterans Affairs error; some of the veterans in the attending crowd gasped and shook their heads.

“They deserve better than that. All these men and women have been willing to give their lives, and they do not deserve to be treated like that,” Hunter said.

While many people who have never earned a dime are getting paid, there are people who have given their all to defend the nation who are having things taken away from them, he said.

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