Local and state representatives joined with residents on Monday to mark Memorial Day as a time of remembrance and reflection.
Gubernatorial candidate and State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) sent out a message to remind people that during their cookouts or time spent at the lake what this day is really about.
"As spring transitions to summer, and as we enjoy cookouts in backyards across the nation, I encourage you to stop and think about the true meaning of Memorial Day," Dorman said. "Today we remember and honor the sacrifice of the brave men and women who have fallen to preserve and protect our country and freedoms. I am eternally grateful for their sacrifice that allows us all to continue our pursuit of the American dream. Their courage and patriotism will never be forgotten."
Those sentiments were echoed by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, who also serves as a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"Today we remember America's fallen heroes who undertook the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of our nation," Inhofe said. "We also pray for the families whose loved ones never came home from the battlefield."
Inhofe noted in his statement that Oklahoma has lost 130 of its men and women in Operation Iraqi Freedome and Enduring Freedom. Many more passed in the wars in Vietnam and Korea, as well as both World Wars.
"Oklahomans share a deep regard for the honor and courage that comes with military service," Inhofe said. "It can be witnessed everyday throughout our communities and in the neighborhoods that surround our military installations. As we gather in these communities today, let us pay tribute to those who gave their tomorrows to ensure our today."
The first Memorial Days were actually referred to as Decoration Day, a time to decorate the graves of those who perished in the Civil War in the 19th century. By the end of that century, ceremonies were held across the nation on May 30 as state legislatures passed proclamations and the Army and Navy chose ways to designate the day.
In 2000, congress passed an act to encourage remembrance on Memorial Day and commemorations across the country.