U.S. Army Master Sgt. Douglas Elliot Jr., from Shawnee, and Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Howe, from California, did their first event jump on Saturday at Shawnee’s Glory Daze Family Spectacular event.
Both Elliot and Howe are stationed at Fort Sill in Lawton. Their families came out to the event to watch them jump and parachute into the crowd. Elliot jumped first and landed in a field past the event and was picked up by a truck. Elliot’s family ran out to the field where he landed to wait for the truck to bring him back to the event.
Elliot’s wife, Meagen, said she’s very proud of her husband and was glad the whole family could come out to see him. She said Independence Day is very special to them.
“It gives us pride for our country,” said Bea Moody, Elliot’s mom.
Moody said Elliot, who has been in the Army since 1993, has been deployed for the past three years on the Fourth of July.
Howe’s wife, Nan, stood with their children as Howe landed amongst the crowd near the stage. As he loaded up his parachute, she said she was very proud of him.
“The sacrifice is worth it,” she said.
She said that Independence Day means a lot to families of military because they know firsthand the sacrifice that’s made.
Elliot’s and Howe’s families had not met until Saturday, but sitting together under a tree awaiting the jumps, Nan said they all got along great.
The Glory Daze Family Spectacular event was held on Saturday at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center.
Entertainment included songs from local residents and the Geoff Scott Band, along with entertainment from Hillbilly Willy, Pulse Quartet and soloist Don Clark. Mike Askins of KGFF introduced all stage acts.
A variety of games were available throughout the event such as inflatable games, face painting and magic shows. The Thunderbird Club was at the event and flew model airplanes and also had a display to enjoy. Vintage planes flew overhead throughout the day as well.
Skydivers and a World War II parachute jump reenactment were also a part of the Glory Daze celebration. Food and drink vendors were available throughout the day.
Page 2 of 2 - Before dusk, a 21-gun salute and a soloist performance of traditional patriotic songs honored servicemen and women and the nation’s independence. The event ended with one of the state’s largest fireworks shows. Western Enterprises, a company that has produced shows throughout the country including Walt Disney World, Epcot, Disneyland and two Olympics, was contracted to coordinate the pyrotechnics.