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Honor, duty and sacrifice were the attributes praised Monday morning at Westlawn Cemetery.
The annual Memorial Day observance by VFW and American Legion members was modified slightly due to recent rains but the patriotism was unchanged.IMG 0481
Henryetta mayor Jennifer Clason said the servicemen and  women being honored were showing their love for another through their willingness to lay down their lives for another. "With that ultimate sacrifice, they have given us liberty. It must not be forgotten."
Bill Goodner, a former Navy service member, used the American Revolution as his topic. He told the crowd the American army was successful because they, "fought for their country. Not as the English soldiers did for orders or mercenaries did for a paycheck."
He said the patriots were willing to make any sacrifice and that, "is present in our military today."
City manager Ted Graham used a quote from Charles M. Province that said:
“It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."
He said those concepts, "are things that come dear to my heart."
Graham praised local residents and the council for pulling together to make positive changes in the town.
"There will be a day when the sun comes out and we will continue to move forward," he added.
Retired army major Tony Gustin urged everyone to visit with the children and teach them about patriotism and the love of country.
He pointed out American military has never acted as conquerors and taken riches from countries they defeated. "We always returned it to a better state." That could have been the same in Iraq, he observed. "We would have had to leave some people there. Those people (the Iraqis," are children of God just like we are."
Because the ground was still covered by rain, the traditional recognition of service members buried overseas was changed.
Officers of the VFW, American Legion and auxiliary placed flags and flowers beneath a flag representing the thousands of servicemen and women still listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.

Photos from the Memorial Day observance:

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