WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The last Monday in May is a day of full of somberness and thankfulness all across our country with Memorial Day upon us.

Near and far, events are taking place honoring those lives lost while serving our country, and here in Texoma, it once again brought veterans, families and those of all ages out bright and early.

“The community definitely has a good support of their military and veterans past and present. It’s always good to know that the community has our backs and supports us in what we do,” Brenton Swift said.

Keynote speaker Jim Wheeler, who served two tours in Vietnam, with four Purple Hearts, makes it a point to speak at Memorial Day events to always remember those who weren’t as fortunate.

“We’ve lost a huge number, over half a million died in uniform. I’m grateful that, even though I was wounded, God saw fit to bring me home,” Wheeler said. “And for me to be here today and reflect on the numbers we’ve talked of and to see all these committed veterans and their [regallion] and what they’ve earned over the years, it’s just overwhelming.”

Also, to make sure the next generation is inspired by the sacrifices that were made to shape our country to what it is today.

Like Ashlyn Lewis and the rest of the Old High JROTC that presented colors, before most their classmates are even awake on the first Monday since school let out.

“A lot of students nowadays don’t see the importance and the meaning of it and they just see it as another day we get out of school, but it’s important to remember why we have this holiday and why we celebrate it,” Lewis said.

Giving those veterans like Wheeler and Swift with Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club, the comfort of knowing we’ll be in good hands.

“It certainly gives us hope, and we all need hope, and of course, I’m a true believer. So I think we are going to do greater things than we’ve already done in this great land despite of the obstacles,” Wheeler said.

“Them being in high school and them doing that out here to people they don’t know and they haven’t taken the oath yet and served the military, they’re doing this on their own free time. It just speaks a lot to their school, their NCO in charge of them and both their parents or families members that are supporting them in this detail,” Swift said.

And whether those veterans realize it, ceremonies like this can leave a lasting impression on the next generation.

“They might not know how important it is for the younger generations for us how we look up to them and for some of us who want to serve, for us to continue to want to do that,” Lewis said.