The Duncan Banner

Local News

May 6, 2012

Send-off ceremony gives veterans local recognition

DUNCAN — Some entered the coliseum dancing, others were escorted in on wheelchairs and others marched in.

And during the Parade of Patriots, nearly every one of the 93 war veterans who saw the crowd beamed and stood or sat up straighter, buoyed by the applause and cheers.

For veterans like Carl Slifer, Stanley McCoy, Jesse Seratte, Bill Rice, Alfred “Salty” Garrett, Frank Barnes, Bobby Pollock, Coolidge Dale White, James White, Harold Boyd, Daniel Wiseman, Harland Burton, Mordell Trammell, Phillip Adams, Elmer Nickerson, Harold Boyd and Jack Tripp, it was a grand moment.

The Stephens and Jefferson County veterans were among those selected for the Oklahoma Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to view the memorials for the wars in which they served. Friday’s flight was the first of its kind to depart from Lawton and was specifically for veterans from Southwest Oklahoma.

Congressman Tom Cole and Rep. Dennis Johnson also attended the send off ceremony Thursday at the Comanche County Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Behind the scenes, prior to the ceremony, veterans sat with family, friends and Junior ROTC students, laughing and sharing stories.

Once assembled in the stadium, everyone was reminded that they were in the presence of 93 “living history books.”

The reminder had many active service personnel and Junior ROTC students murmuring as they absorbed that thought. The quiet murmurs of approval continued as each veteran’s name was flashed on a screen and read, citing their hometown, service branch and a brief snippet of their history. For some, that included instances like the invasion of Normandy, being shot down multiple times and continuing their battles and how many wars they fought in.

Rep. Gary Banz, an organizer of Oklahoma Honor Flights, addressed the crowd, with a rousing speech about survival, teamwork and the importance of remembering why the veterans are special.

Sharing a story about the 2008 Bejing Summer Olympics, he recalled the relay teams that dropped batons.

“You see, the most critical part of a relay race is in the exchange of the baton,” he said. Then he told the crowd that the coliseum would be transferred into “one giant exchange zone.”

“Veterans, you have lived long enough to see the impact your service and sacrifice made on human history,” Banz said. “Your family, these students and our nation need to hear your story.”

When the veterans had entered the stadium, they had been given a pocket-sized book of the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, without being told why.

Banz then revealed the mystery, noting that the Junior ROTC students had an Oklahoma Honor Flights commemorative coin and that the young person and the veteran hero would exchange their items.

He also told the youth they are the next ones to receive the “baton.”

“Young people — take the baton and honor them by pledging to preserve, protect and and defend the Constitution and our way of life,” he said.

Banz reminded people of the sacrifices made by the veterans, when they, too, were only 16, 17 and 18 years old.

“They faced and defeated tyrants and despotic rule,” he said.

After that, the “batons” of the small booklet and the coin, were passed from generation to generation. Smiles, hugs and misty eyes filled the room.

Banz said 16 million served in the military during World War II, and that now less than 3 million remain, with about 60,000 of those in Oklahoma.

“They came home to build families and a nation,” he said. “These are your heroes.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • jimmyseggstore.jpg Jimmy’s Egg set to open June 9

    A new Jimmy’s Egg restaurant will open in Duncan on June 9 and will begin interviewing job applicants later this month, the restaurant’s general manager said on Tuesday.
    The restaurant will seat about 150 and will employ 33 people, said Libby Shirra, the new general manager.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-15 Odesse Barnes Mug crop.jpg Fourth man accused of hiding Lane murder weapon

    The Stephens County District Attorney’s Office on Monday charged a fourth person in the Christopher Lane murder case.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slaying of former Duncan doctor shocks friends

    The deaths of former Duncan physician Bill Corporon and his teenage grandson at the hand of a onetime Ku Klux Klan leader left the beloved doctor’s friends in Oklahoma heartbroken and shocked on Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • file 3-17 BENCH Miles Sterling.jpg Competency hearing begins in Bench case

     A hearing to determine if Miles Bench is mentally competent to stand trial for murder began Monday in Stephens County District Court.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Skeletal remains found in pond

    More skeletal remains that may be linked to the death of a woman in 2006 have been discovered in a pond northeast of Bray this weekend, authorities said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Commissioners choose different bid in electric project

    A decision made a week ago was changed on Monday when Stephens County commissioners found liability coverage would not be provided.

    April 15, 2014

  • Tornado touches down in Stephens County, minor damage reported

    A tornado that touched down briefly east of Bray knocked down some power lines and a few trees, but did not injure anyone, Stephens County District 1 Commissioner Darrell Sparks said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Oddesse Barnes Another charge filed in Lane shooting death

    The Stephens County District Attorney's Office filed an accessory after the fact of murder in the firstdegree charge against a 22-year-old Duncan man in relation to the shooting death of Australian native Christopher Lane.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge Russell reverses course, stays put

    If the political instincts of G. Brent Russell are correct, attorney Ken Graham will be a shoe-in to be the next District Judge in Stephens County.

    April 14, 2014

  • Bill Corporon, former Duncan physician, slain in Kansas with grandson

    Dr. William Corporon, who practiced medicine for years in Duncan before moving to Kansas, and his 14-year-old grandson were shot to death on Sunday in Overland Park, Kan. by a gunman who went on to kill a third person at a nearby assisted living center.

     

    April 13, 2014