America’s heroes will be honored throughout the nation Monday, with several services slated locally.
John Lewis Key will serve as the keynote speaker for the annual Memorial Day service at the Ardmore Veterans Center. The service will begin at 11 a.m. with the Ardmore High School Band providing patriotic music leading up to the event. The Patriot Guard Riders will also make their appearance at 10:45 a.m.
Among those slated to take part are Ricky McGee, who will provide the invocation and benediction. Garland Moore will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and Admiral Wesley Hull will offer opening and closing comments as well as the introduction of Key.
Key is a Dewey native, and owns Griffin-Hillcrest Funeral Home. When he was a child, his father was a grocer by trade and the chief of the volunteer fire department. Key accompanied his father on many calls, and came to appreciate what his father and other members of the community did for the community in stressful situations.
Working in the family grocery store, he also learned an attitude of service. While Key and his wife attended Oklahoma State University, he took a position with Bernhardt’s Strode Funeral Home and found he enjoyed working with the families he served. He then moved to Edmond, where he majored in mortuary science at the University of Central Oklahoma. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Key returned to Bernhardt’s Strode. He was promoted from funeral director to funeral home manager and eventually to vice president of operations. In 2006, he purchased Griffin Funeral Home and Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery.
Matt Benedick, the chaplain of Cross Timbers Hospice, will offer comments. Master Sgt. Kent Tucker will introduce Gold Star Mothers Mona Watkins, Barbara Robson, Marjorie Armstrong and Angelia Phillips. Seth Nightengale has also been selected to perform Taps.
The first memorial service of the day will begin at 8 a.m. at Clearview Cemetery. Judge Thomas Walker will serve as the keynote speaker for the service, which is sponsored by American Legion Post 264. In keeping with tradition, Tisa Peevy will sing the National Anthem. Following the service, attendees are invited to a Memorial Day celebration at Jehovah Baptist Church in Milo. Rev. Carl Loftis will serve as the keynote speaker. Following the celebration, a light lunch will be served.
A Memorial Day service at Mount Olive Cemetery in Healdton will begin at 11 a.m., and will feature Carter County Associate District Judge Thomas Baldwin as the speaker. American Legion Post 203 sponsors the service.
Ed Carnett will be the keynote speaker for the service at Ringling Memorial Cemetery. The service will begin at 11 a.m.
Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, adjutant general of Oklahoma, will be the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony at Green Hill Cemetery in Davis. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.