As American flags fluttered in the breeze at Hartshorne’s Elmwood Cemetery, those attending a Memorial Day Service were asked to remember the sacrifices veterans have made for the freedom Americans enjoy today.
“I’m just an old Marine,” said featured speaker Royce Jackson, who served as a corporal during the Vietnam War and is now a member of the Marine Corps League in McAlester.
“I’m here today to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom.”
While a breeze buffeted the Stars and Stripes and well as the black and white POW/MIA flag behind, Jackson read aloud the names of some of his comrades-in-arms who died during the war in Vietnam.
As he read the names and told something about his fallen friends, Jackson paused several times.
“It’s hard not to get emotional when you talk about the people you were with,” he said, his voice nearly choking with emotion.
He spoke of one particular friend who did not make it home — but also told of a connection he later made with the fallen Marine’s family.
“I met with his twin brother in Pennsylvania,” Jackson said.
Other fallen Marines who served with Jackson came from Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and from Cushing, Oklahoma.
“We must remember them — until there is no one left to remember,” Jackson said.
His hope is one day, there will only be peace, he added.
American Legion Post 180 Commander Tom Larsen opened the program, followed by the posting of the colors by Honor Guard members John Beachamp, Don Cassada, Stacy Garvin and Deborah Goforth.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.
For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.