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Memorial unveiled in Norman for fallen Oklahoma National Guardsmen

A memorial honoring the 18 members of the Oklahoma National Guard who have died since U.S. troops began fighting in Afghanistan in 2001 was unveiled Wednesday in Norman at the Armed Forces Reserve Center.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: March 26, 2014 at 10:13 pm •  Published: March 27, 2014

A memorial honoring the 18 members of the Oklahoma National Guard who have died since U.S. troops began fighting in Afghanistan in 2001 was unveiled Wednesday in Norman at the Armed Forces Reserve Center.

Family members of the guardsmen killed during the ongoing War on Terrorism were on hand Wednesday to unveil the memorial, which included tributes to soldiers who died in other U.S. conflicts.

Most of the soldiers honored Wednesday were killed in Afghanistan. Most were married and had children — and nearly all were killed in 2011.

Military officials on hand thanked the families for their sacrifice and for keeping the memories of their loved ones alive.

After short biographies were read for all of the men and women who were honored Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Myles Deering spoke to the fallen soldiers’ families.

“When we began this journey together, I promised you two things,” Deering told the small group of family members in attendance.

“First, that your loved one would not be forgotten. Your soldier is our soldier. Secondly, I promised you that you would always be a part of our camp. This is an example of that. Think of the good that comes out of this.”

A large crowd of soldiers and other personnel attended the memorial’s unveiling Wednesday. Family members sat near the memorial, which is a display of shadow boxes. Inside each box is a soldier’s portrait, a photograph of them in action, and a short biography that documents the date and circumstances of their death.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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