45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City holds Memorial Day ceremony

OKLAHOMA CITY - On this Memorial Day, across the nation, we pause to thank our veterans, servicemen, servicewomen and their families.

In Oklahoma City, a special ceremony is held every year in their honor.

As part of a tradition that's been going strong since 1976 - at the 45th Infantry Museum to say thank you and pay respects to those who sacrificed so much for our country.

"I'm proud to have served my country," said Jimmie Martin, a veteran.

It's a day of reflection from those who saw the sacrifices firsthand, veterans remembering those lost.

"I think of them," Martin said.

Also, remembering those moments that got them through the difficult times.

"One time, we re-armed the USS Oklahoma City and that made my whole time in the service worthwhile - seeing that ship pull up beside ours," said Phil Briggs, a Navy veteran.

"My best memory is flying," said Ron Howland, a National Guard veteran. "I flew helicopters and airplanes for 30 years for the National Guard. I loved it."

Finding joy in their job - no matter what it may be.

"I have a grandson that likes to say his grandad on the other side had over 100 kills in Vietnam," Martin said. "He likes to compare that to me. He said my other grandad spent his time in an air conditioned control tower with a coffee pot. So, it takes all of us."

On this Memorial Day - an emphasis on keeping the veterans' stories alive through future generations.

"I do want to commend you folks on bringing your kids to this event," said Brigadier General Steve D. Elliott to the crowd. "It's amazing to show them that patriotism is running true and forever fertile in this country."

One mom said her son Adler's birthday fell on Memorial Day and he chose to spend it thanking veterans for their service at the ceremony.

"Thank you for serving our country to keep our freedom safe," Adler said.

All in attendance - emphasizing gratitude for their sacrifice.

"Not even saying it maybe, give them a handshake, give them a hug, recognize them," said Gage Foreman, a museum employee.

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.