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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee and state officials gathered Monday to honor veterans

  • Veterans and local residents honored the service of U.S. veterans Monday morning at the Oklahoma Veterans Memorial in Shawnee's Woodland-Veterans Park. Around 100 people looked on as prayers were said, poems were read, veterans were hugged, and guns were fired.
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  • Veterans and local residents honored the service of U.S. veterans Monday morning at the Oklahoma Veterans Memorial in Shawnee's Woodland-Veterans Park. Around 100 people looked on as prayers were said, poems were read, veterans were hugged, and guns were fired.
     
    House Speaker Kris Steele opened the ceremony by leading the prayer, veteran Frank Tiger read a poem, and Shawnee Mayor Wes Mainord read a proclamation naming Nov.12 as Veterans Day in Shawnee.
     
    "America's veterans answered the call when we were asked to protect our nation from some of the most brutal and ruthless tyrants, terrorists and militaries the world has ever known," Mainord said.
     
    During the ceremony, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Shawnee Post 1317 gave a 21-gun salute, and veteran MJ Madden spoke about the USS Oklahoma, and the new addition of the white anchor now at Veterans Park in honor of those that died on the ship.
     
    Justin Wood, newly elected House District 26 representative, was on hand as well.
     
    "I pray that God bless you (the veterans), and continues to bless the men and women over seas today, the mothers and fathers, the daughters and sons, and grandchildren out there today that are fighting to secure our liberty," Wood said.
     
    The nation paid tribute to its members of the armed services Sunday, both with somber traditions such as a Virginia wreath-laying ceremony attended by President Barack Obama to honor those who didn't make it back from active duty, and more lighthearted perks including red-carpet treatment at Las Vegas casinos for those who did.
     
    Sunday marked the official commemoration of Veterans Day, but the federal holiday was observed Monday.
     
    President Obama laid the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and noted that this is the first Veterans Day in a decade with no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq, and that a decade of war in Afghanistan is coming to a close.
     
    Genealogy website Ancestry. com has launched an online, searchable collection of the burial sites of more than 500,000 members of the military.
     
    The project, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Archives and Records Administration, allows people to search by name, for a fee.
     
    The collection includes burial information for prominent figures in history, including President Abraham Lincoln and Gen. George Armstrong Custer, who was killed with more than 200 of his men in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn against a coalition of Native American tribes.
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    The project includes two new, searchable collections of U.S. burial registers, military posts and national cemeteries from 1862-1960 and of U.S. headstone applications from 1926-1963.
     
    There are currently more than 22 million veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces that have reintegrated back into our society.
     
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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