Tribute to our Veterans: Honor Walk
There are over 337,000 veterans living in Oklahoma and Gene Miller Sr. was one of them.
"Being a member of whether Air Force, Army National Guard, whatever- it's a band of brothers," said Gene Miller Jr.
"We were ready to not just lay down our lives for our country, but we we'd run in front of a bullet for a friend or another guy," said Gene Jr.
Gene Sr. was part of that 'band of brothers.' He served 10 years in the Air Force and was stationed in Korea during the Korean War. Miller Sr. was the crew chief 'Gwenny,' a F-86 sabre.
"What more can you say about a man you loved? That's why I went in the air force myself," said Gene Jr.
Gene Sr. treated his family and children with love even in the last few days of his life.
"The last words he said to all of us was, 'I love you,' " said Gene Jr.
Staff, patients, friends, and family at the Muskogee VA also found a way to say "I love you" to the family of Gene Sr. when he died there at age 84.
Their goodbye, simply titledthe honor walk.
"I wish to thank each and every person that was standing out there and let them know that it makes it a lot easier for those of us who have to walk behind that casket," said Gene Jr.
An announcement was made over the hospital's PA system.
"Attention VA medical center, please join us in our 'Honor Walk' as we honor a fallen veteran."
Everyone who could, lined up along the halls of the Muskogee VA. People stood at attention, with their hands folded, or across their chest as Gene Sr.'s family walked him out the hospital door.
The support left Gene Jr. speechless and grateful.
"It was a blessing for me. It's something that I'm glad they're doing because, not only does it honor the member that died, but it also honors the family- showing them that we're not the only ones that care," said Gene Jr.
The Muskogee VA has been doing the honor walk since June. It was a new program that other VA's in the country were adapting. When officials heard about it, they said they thought it was a way they could honor our Veterans, while showing respect and compassion.
"It's just some of the things that I see now that I kind of wish they'd been doing for the last 50 years," said Gene Jr.
Draped in the flag of the country he served, surrounded by the family he loved, Gene Sr. was called on once again.
However, this time, it was for him to come home.