News: 45th Infantry Division Museum hosts Memorial Day Ceremony
By Airman 1st Class Kasey Phipps
137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
OKLAHOMA CITY – The reverberating shot of a WWII-era anti-tank cannon marked the beginning of Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Infantry Division Museum Memorial Day ceremony today. The museum has held military remembrance ceremonies since its establishment in September 1976 by the Oklahoma legislature.
“Every year I come,” said Bill Tekamp, a 45th Infantry Korean War veteran who has attended the ceremony for 10 years. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
As Oklahomans remember those lost in the recent May 20 tornado, they also came together to remember and honor the fallen men and women who have served their country.
However, Memorial Day is not only a day for remembering the fallen, but also a day for honoring the families and friends who make up the support system for those service members. As Oklahoma rises to support each other in disaster, so do Oklahomans support and honor each other in service to their country.
“For me I will never forget the names of the 19 soldiers that we’ve lost since the global war on terrorism,” said Brig. Gen. Robbie Asher, Director Joint Staff of Joint Force Headquarters and keynote speaker for the event. “Those 19 soldiers and their families will always have a special place in my heart, and today, as I remember Memorial Day, that’s who I remember – those families.”
The ceremony also offers a window into our nation’s history. Surrounded by military vehicles and aircraft as well as veterans wearing historical period uniforms, the public sat in chairs on the lawn reliving years past.
“It’s all about honoring them,” said Larry Lewis, a Vietnam War era veteran from the 4th Army 1st Brigade, now a part of the museum’s Company G, 180th Infantry a reenactment team who helped to fire the cannon to initiate the ceremony. “You can’t progress in the future without remembering the past. Don’t live in the past, but take those lessons that are offered by the past.”
In remembering the past, Oklahomans can progress into a more hopeful, optimistic future that honors those who scouted the paths before them.
“I feel blessed to call myself an Oklahoman, because I truly believe, more than any other state, our citizens understand what today is all about,” said Asher. “But my friends, I suggest to you that Memorial Day is not served well if it is a day of sadness alone. Today, we are all charged, especially those of us that have worn the uniform, to ensure that today celebrates the lives of our friends who gave their complete physical being for our Nation.”