By Jeanne LeFlore
On Friday, Oklahoma Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Hopper T. Smith was the special guest speaker at the Armed Forces Day luncheon at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.
Speaking without notes, Smith said he had always appreciated being told ‘Thank you for your service’ but he just wasn’t sure what to say in response.
Now he knows.
He said ,“I tell them, ‘I should thank you, because it’s a privilege to serve this great nation, with a great lineage of men and woman and to serve the great citizens of the United States of America.’” The luncheon was attended by several local citizens, politicians and former and current military men and women.
During the luncheon, a solemn picture presentation was given recognizing 19 fallen soldiers, all of them from Oklahoma.
Smith said those men, some of them he said he worked with, were best remembered with the third stanza of “America the Beautiful” and he read the words.
“O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life. America. America. May God thy gold refine. Till all success be nobleness. And every gain divine.”
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. Contact Jeanne LeFlore at firstname.lastname@example.org.