Memorial Day Veterans Lodge event honors veterans’ sacrifice

ADA, Okla. - Community members, veterans, active service members and families gathered at 11 a.m., May 24, or a Memorial Day luncheon at the Chickasaw Nation Veterans Lodge in Ada.

Attendees enjoyed games and each other’s company prior to listening to remarks from special guests. A highlight of the event was the placing of a wreath dedicated to all fallen service members.

Outside the lodge, under several waving national and U.S. military flags, the serene sounds of distant singing birds and wind-blown trees filled the air as dignitaries addressed the crowd.

Rev. Gene Anoatubby offered the invocation, a prayer of thanks and a blessing over attendees, military service members and their families.

The Chickasaw Honor Guard posted the colors as attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Governor Bill Anoatubby, a U.S. Army National Guard veteran, spoke of the importance of Memorial Day. Gov. Anoatubby shared his own appreciation for service members carrying on the Chickasaw warrior tradition.

“It is an honor to be in the presence of so many people who have served our country,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “We applaud members of the military for their bravery and sacrifice as they protect our freedoms and way of life. We also applaud members of their families who demonstrate their own brand of bravery and sacrifice.”

The blessings and freedoms Americans enjoy, Gov. Anoatubby said, are not a coincidence but the culmination of promises kept by generations of fellow Americans – promises supported by their courage and sacrifice.

Honor Guard member and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Ray Orphan presented the memorial wreath to Gov. Anoatubby and Chickasaw Nation Director of Veterans Affairs Phillip Billy. The two men then placed the wreath in front of the veterans lodge.

“This ceremony is to honor all fallen service members,” Mr. Billy said. “There is a price for freedom, and their sacrifices are not in vain. These men and women lived to defend freedom and protect their fellow citizens. With this wreath, we honor their sacrifices. We thank them for all they have done.”

After the ceremony, those gathered reconvened inside the lodge to share a meal.