The community gathered around the Grady County Veteran’s Memorial on Thursday. 

James Hesston, a retired Army Sergeant Major who now resides in Rush Springs, spoke of the solidarity among veterans. 

“One thing I love about this day is the connection with other veterans. I will have so many of my comrades that I started out with reach out to me and I will do the same to them. We tell each other what an honor it was to serve with each other,” Hesston said. “I can tell you as I stand here today that I may have never served with you in the same unit, but it is an honor to thank you for your service and to know that we have that bond together.” 

Sherri K. Lewis, with the Oklahoma Veterans Recognition Committee, said she recognizes many veterans within the community. 

“It makes you step back and look at those people with a different eye because those are the ones that have done for our country more than any politician, more than any business person, more than anybody. You are our heroes, guys,” Lewis said. 

She acknowledged that this respect comes at a high cost for veterans. 

“And it’s an honor for you to be that hero. You sacrificed your time, your family, a large part of your life because you felt committed to this country. And that says a lot about each and every one of you.”

Lewis also touched on the 25th Anniversary of the Grady County Veteran’s Memorial. The program was cancelled in November 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The memorial was installed at Shannon Springs Park in Chickasha 26 years ago with a celebration held on Veteran’s Day. 

“We had a large parade downtown. I know a lot of you were there. We had military brass from all over,” Lewis said. 

While there are hundreds of names on the Grady County Veteran’s Memorial, Lewis said it’s not too late to add the name of a Grady County veteran. Lewis said veterans or loved ones may contact Elledge Monument for more information. 

Lewis mentioned two resources in Chickasha that are available to veterans all year round. 

The VFW meets at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the Chickasha Elks Lodge. 

The Grady County DAV is now open three days a week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They meet at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month.

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