Serving veterans has been blessing

by Jessica Garvin

With the passing of Memorial Day, I think of how incredibly blessed I have been over the past seven years to serve veterans in their most vulnerable and difficult time of life. As a nursing home and assisted living administrator, I’ve been able to spend quality time around men and women who served our country in the armed forces, as well as the spouses of these heroes. When I’m back at work in Marlow, I hear their stories about their long-distance relationships, the letters they wrote during periods of war, coming home to meet their children for the first time, and sometimes, and occasionally, I’m fortunate enough to get to hear stories about their time in battle.

It’s not often that a veteran speaks of their own heroism. Most of the time, when these stories begin to pour out, it’s bragging on a shipmate or someone who was in the trenches with them that never made it home. Listening to the stories from these veterans is heart-wrenching.  Watching them relive those memories, although difficult to hear, brings me such pride in my country and thankfulness for their sacrifice.

I’ve heard the story about the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the man who placed the switches on the bombs, held the hand of a Normandy survivor as he took his final breath, and two-stepped with an original Rosie-the-Riveter. I’ve listened to “Taps” be played more times than I can remember, but what I will never forget about each funeral service is watching the flags folded and gently placed in the hands of a family member left behind to honor the memory of their loved one and hearing the 21-gun salute by the Honor Guard.

The veterans I serve experienced incredible loss during their time in war. I have friends who have served, or are currently serving, and have experienced this same loss and grief. Memorial Day, over the years, has become the “kick-off” of summer in America. People flock to the lakes with their coolers and lawn chairs, and stores capitalize on the weekend with sales on everything from furniture to cars. I believe we sometimes forget the true reason for this holiday: the remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives, so that you and I could be free.

As you wake up on Monday morning, I hope you’ll join me in saying a prayer of thanksgiving for all the men and women who had the courage to enlist, the bravery to fight, and the selflessness required to lay down their lives for those they loved, for those they had never met, and for the generations of Americans who will enjoy freedom for years to come.

If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please contact me at the Capitol. Please write to Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at or call (405) 521-5522.