Veterans in Burkburnett reflect on their time in the service on Memorial Day

Local News

BURKBURNETT (KFDX/KJTL) — In Burkburnett, several organizations came together to honor local heroes.

With friends and family surrounding them, these veterans say they feel honored on this day and they remember the men and women they served with.

“I lost a lot of my relatives in the Second World War. I had three or four uncles that were in the various services,” Air Force veteran Theophile Kwas Jr. said.

Theophile ‘Ted’ Kwas Jr. left home at 17 in 1953 to join the United States Air Force where he would serve for 20-years.

As he and 30-year Air Force veteran Don Umlah celebrated 50-years as part of the Frye-Vaughn American Legion, they also remember their time in the service. For Kwas and Umlah, following in the footsteps of the men in their families was a driving force.

‘That’s basically the reason I went into the military because of them. I did have one uncle that was in the marines and he came back but he was pretty well shot up. I’ve been the lucky one,” Kwas said.

“I’ve had two brothers, both of them were in the military, both of them awarded many decorations, both of them passed away so I think of them a lot,” Umlah said.

Alongside the celebration, the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 41, and VFW Post 10455 unveiled new stones at the Burkburnett Memorial Cemetery.

“Bronze star recipient, World War II who happens to be buried just a stone’s throw away from here. I think that honoring him here at his home, a city that he lived in. It’s a tribute to him and in the same turn it’s a tribute to all the other soldiers,” WF Disabled American Veterans Chapter 41 Project Chairman Troy Melton said.

Veterans like Kwas Jr. and Umlah think of the men and women that they fought with who didn’t make it home.

“The non-military people, they don’t understand what it is to give yourself for the good of other people. It’s not easy to hit a battlefield and shoot at somebody because you’re protecting your own,” Kwas said.

“Remember those military members who gave up their lives. Remember those police officers, the firefighters because they’re all out there serving the community,” Umlah said.

On a day that some see as a day off work and a cookout, veterans remember wartime and acknowledge the sacrifice they made and the sacrifices others made for our county.

“God bless America. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here today,” Kwas said.

People who have an NFC reader on their phone can use it on one of the stones at the cemetery and it will lead to a website that will display benefits for family members of disabled vets.

NFC Tools for iPhone can be found here.

NFC Tools for Android can be found here.

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July 23 2021 05:30 am

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