The annual 45th Infantry Division and Oklahoma National Guard Appreciation Day is intended to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by all members of the 45th Infantry Division, especially during World War II and the Korean War. In recent years, the day has been expanded to include the men and women who currently serve in the Oklahoma National Guard.
Former members of the 45th Infantry (Thunderbird) Division and current members of the Oklahoma National Guard filled the House chamber.
Two widows whose husbands were killed in the line of duty or who died from wounds suffered in a combat zone were the first to be presented the Oklahoma Gold Star Medal. Legislation was passed and signed into law last year creating the Oklahoma medal and designating that it be awarded to members of the military who voluntarily performed a deed of bravery or self-sacrifice during combat occurring after Sept. 11, 2001, that resulted in their death.
Those receiving the award were Jane Horton, whose husband, Spc. Christopher D. Horton, 26, from Collinsville, was killed Sept. 9, 2011, when his unit came under attack by small arms-fire in Afghanistan, and Megan Ewy, whose husband, 2nd Lt. Jered Ewy, 33, from Edmond, was killed July 29 in Afghanistan.