97 AMW, VFW, local community celebrate Veterans Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Amanda Lovelace
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing

Airmen from the 97th Air Mobility Wing, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4876 members and the local community gathered to honor veterans during a ceremony on Nov. 11, 2020 at the Jackson County War Memorial in Altus, Oklahoma.

During the ceremony, “Taps” was played, the base Honor Guard performed the presentation of the colors and five wreaths were laid by distinguished guests, including Col. Matthew Leard, 97th AMW commander, Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay, 97th AMW command chief, and Larry Hurd, VFW Post 4876 commander.

“I hope today serves to motivate us all with a renewed sense of patriotism, purpose and pride,” said Richard Willey, Oklahoma VFW chaplain and member of VFW Post 8676. “America is truly the best country on Earth as a direct result of those who have served it.”

After the ceremony, all in attendance were invited to meet at the VFW Post 4876 to converse andeat a free meal. During the luncheon, Col. David Vanderburg, 97th Mission Support Group commander, provided his remarks on the importance of Veterans Day.“

When I joined the military, I thought I would just do four years and then get out,” said Vanderburg. “But it’s so rewarding, and I know a lot of veterans feel this way to.”

Vanderburg also spoke on the importance of veterans sharing their stories.

“You’ve done some amazing things, you’ve been part of something bigger than yourself, which ultimately is why I serve,” said Vanderburg. “So what I really ask of you is to share your stories with your families, especially your kids and grandkids. They may not understand, they may not know, and you’re the only person who can give them that view they wouldn’t have otherwise.

”In addition to the ceremony and luncheon, members of the 97th Force Support Squadron and Altus community also honored Veterans Day by laying flags on the graves of service members on Nov. 10, 2020 at the Altus City Cemetery.

“We’ll never forget the veterans, our brothers and sisters, who served before us and those who’ve paid the ultimate price,” said George Standard, VFW Post 4876 chaplain. “Without the sacrifices they’ve made, a lot of us wouldn’t be living in a free country today.”