Enid News & Eagle, May 29, 2018
ENID, Okla. — Veterans, their families and members of the community gathered Monday morning at the Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park to honor all who have served in the military, and to remember those who never came home.
Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, reminded those during Monday’s ceremony that Memorial Day was meant to honor the service of those who have, and still do, give their lives in service to their country.
“This is a day that we can and we should talk about heroism and sacrifice,” he told the more than 200 in attendance. Caldwell asked those who served their country and the members of Gold Star families to stand and be honored.
Enid Mayor Bill Shewey said he was honored to welcome those to Monday’s ceremony, especially those who served. He thanked those who served, both in wartime and in peace, for standing up for their fellow Americans.
“We pause to say thanks to fallen heroes,” Shewey said. “We pause to say thanks to those who have served.”
The Rev. Kenneth Wade gave the ceremony’s invocation, and the flag presentation was conducted by the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society. Bailey Terry, a student soloist from First Baptist Church of Enid, sang the national anthem.
Lt. Gov, Todd Lamb, the keynote speaker, said it was an honor for him to be home in Enid during the holiday and addressing those who served, and their families.
He said there were few words he could add to honor those included in the Woodring Wall of Honor. He thanked the men and women serving in uniform at Vance Air Force Base, and across the globe.
Lamb addressed the family of Air Force 1st Lt. Dale Bryan Shillington, whose namesake and grandfather served during World War II. Lamb told the family their son was part of a family that was willing to serve its country.
“Your son had the genes of service,” Lamb said. “The DNA for wanting to give back.”
Shillington was killed in a plane crash July 21, 2016, near Fairmont. The 25-year-old was serving at Vance Air Force Base at the time.
Lamb thanked those for attending Monday’s ceremony, noting the freedom it represented and the fact it honored those that afforded such freedom.
“If Norman Rockwell were alive today, I really believe he’d want to come to Enid to paint his next portrait of what it’s like to celebrate Memorial Day,” he said. “Right here in Enid.”
Woodring Wall of Honor President David Henneke addressed attendees, telling them the purpose of Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park.
“It is a place of remembrance of veterans who fought in wars, served in times of peace or are part of the 9/11 generation,” he said. “Our park continues to grow as we work diligently to not forget those who have served.”
Roland Pederson, R-Burlington, presented a citation to the Shillingtons from the Oklahoma Legislature honoring their son.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Henneke asked those who served to stand up and be honored. He asked those from the World War II era to stand first. There were two in attendance. When the Korean War era servicemen were asked to stand to be honored, there were fewer than 10.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Josh Croom was also in attendance at Monday’s ceremony, representing the Mission 22 organization, meant to educate and raise awareness about veteran suicide. A sign in Veterans Park between 20 silhouettes of soldiers explains that 20 or more veterans commit suicide a day. Mission 22 aims to prevent veteran suicide through three programs: veteran treatment programs, memorials and national awareness.
Croom helped organize an event held downtown Saturday to raise money, and awareness, for the cause.
“We put this together in the beginning of April. I received a call that two of my marines committed suicide,” Croom said. “We want to memorialize who they were and they did for our country and not how they passed.”