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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Earl Garrison
Tourism and Wildlife Co-Chairman
Senate District 9
Muskogee and Wagoner Counties

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For Immediate Release: February 20, 2008

Senator Earl Garrison
Sen. Earl Garrison

Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Passes Veteran Flag Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY-The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday which would designate the first Monday of each month to honor veterans who are currently serving or were killed in the global war on terrorism. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate Bill 1134, authored by State Senator Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, asks all state agencies, interested organizations, civic groups and individuals to fly the U.S. flag at half-mast in remembrance of those Oklahomans who are serving or who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces furtherance of victory in the global war on terror, particularly those who have died or have been wounded as a result of such service.

Senator Garrison, an Air Force Reserve veteran, said his bill is just a small gesture to show the gratitude he has for those serving their country.

“I wanted to do something that simply says thank you to our brave Oklahoma men and women who are serving or have served in the military,” Garrison said. “We must always recognize their efforts and sacrifices for their country. This bill is only a small token of honor and appreciation I have for them.”

 DeWayne Pemberton, serves as assistant principal at Muskogee High School and has had three sons serve tours of duty with the Muskogee National Guard in Iraq. He strongly supports Senator Garrison’s bill.

“I think this is a great idea and I appreciate Senator Garrison going above and beyond the call of duty with this bill,” Pemberton said. “Two of my sons are currently stationed with the 45th Infantry in Iraq and another son served there in 2004. We must not forget that we are still fighting a war on terror and that we have over 150,000 of our troops serving in Iraq. People need to remember the sacrifices they are making for their country.”

Ken Hayes of Muskogee is a Navy veteran who served in the Korean War. He also coached basketball at the University of Tulsa, Oral Roberts University, New Mexico State University and Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He said he supports the flag bill.

“I am strongly in favor of this,” Hayes said. “These guys are laying their lives on the line each day for us. Senator Garrison’s bill is a great way to honor them.”

 Senator Roger Ballenger, D-Okmulgee, is a U.S. Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War. He strongly supports his Democratic colleague on this bill.

Multiple generations of Oklahomans have answered the call to military service, putting their lives on the line in defense of America and the values we all share,” Ballenger said. “We are deeply indebted to each and every one of those soldiers, as well as to the brave Oklahomans currently serving in our Armed Forces and National Guard today.”

For more information contact:
Senator Ford's Office:  (405) 521-5533

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