Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
Stand in front of the Woodward American Veteran's Memorial south of Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum and you will likely see some names you recognize.
What you won't see is just exactly what brought about the circumstances that led their names to wind up on that memorial to this region's soldiers, sailers, airmen and Marines.
You might stand there and trace your fingers over the bumpy, edges of engraved names.
But you won't feel the oppressive heat and air so thick with humidity that every breath feels like an effort. You will probably never peel combat boots off of your feet, and wince as some of your skin comes off with them.
More than likely, you will never find yourself stuck in a fox hole in the middle of winter in a land where you don't speak the language. And thank God, you don't know how it is to be unable to move out of that foxhole because you are pinned down with your buddy who is gut shot and dying.
Most folks around here can't understand the feeling of being surrounded in an Iraqi neighborhood, having been left to care for your injured buddy with promises that the rest of the squad will be back to get you.
For most Americans, going to sleep after laying down and getting comfortable in their bed won't include having to control the memory of doing CPR on someone and the taste of their blood as it pours into your mouth.
The smell of burning diesel and the sound of explosions and the feel of water rushing into the belly of your destroyer is, luckily, an experience that most will get to avoid.
It is for these people, the ones who do understand these things or even those who understand the costs associated with wearing the uniform during peace time who have honorably served their country in any of the United States Armed Forces, that the Woodward American Legion will be updating it's veteran's Memorial.
Already the memorial, which was dedicated May 26, 2007, has 4,349 names of area veterans engraved on it, according to Memorial Coordinator, Alan Case Sr.
Veterans or the families of veterans, living or deceased may submit a request to have their name added to the memorial, Case said. The requester must furnish evidence of having served and having been honorably discharged, according to Case.
This includes National Guardsmen and women and Reservists who have served their enlistment period, he said.
According to Case, if a family is having difficulty finding the needed documentation, they can contact the American Legion Post 19 Memorial Committee and they will assist in finding the needed documentation.
A $50 fee for the addition of one name covers the cost of engraving, Case said. Please submit requests along with the fee to any Post 19 member or mail them to American Legion Post 19, P.O. Box 1462, Woodward, Oklahoma 73802.