In May 2018, Singer, Actress, and Writer Rita Graham of Atlanta, Georgia penned an inaugural poem for the first Memorial Day Observance held at the Wm Conrad Veterans Memorial Gardens, 313 East Turner Street in Langston, Oklahoma. That signature poem has been recited or read at each of the Memorial Day Programs held since that initial program. Veterans, their family members and friends, and the general public at large are invited to observe a Memorial Day Salute dedicated to the sincere, solemn, sentiments of Ms. Graham’s poem at 11:00 am on Monday, May 29, 2023.
The Observance program will be highlighted by a Keynote Address by Colonel Samuel F. Payne Jr., the Vice Director of the 448th Supply Chain Management Wing, Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma. Col. Payne is responsible for enterprise-wide strategic planning and execution of the Air Force Supply Chain. The Wing employs over 3,000 personnel across Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; Hill AFB, Utah; and Robins AFB, Georgia; and has budget authority worth over $7.2 billion annually supporting all services, several federal agencies, and multiple foreign allies worldwide.
Colonel Payne received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in June 1999. During his career, he has commanded three Logistics Readiness Squadrons and worked on the Headquarters Air Staff in multiple capacities. He was competitively selected to participate in both the Air Force Logistics Career Broadening Program at Robins AFB, Georgia and the
Air Force Strategic Policy Fellowship at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Prior to his current position, the Colonel served as the Executive Officer for the Director, of Headquarters Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.
The Colonel also has deployed assignments with the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command, Afghanistan, and European Command’s Joint Movement Center in Stuttgart, Germany, along with two remote assignments to the Republic of Korea.
This year’s program will also welcome an Honor Guard from Tinker Air Force Base; U.S. Air National Guard Bugler Vicki Friedemann; Curtisia Denae, International Gospel Recording Artist; First Lady Royce Mack, New Hope Baptist Church; Purple Heart Recipient Emmit Lee McKee, Jr.; and Gold Star Family Representative Mrs. Charlene Meeks, President of The Langston City Chamber of Commerce. Lunch will be served at the Gardens following the program.
Army Veteran and Langston native Stewart A. Williams is the Founder/Developer of the Wm Conrad Veterans Memorial Gardens. He and his wife Maeoma have worked tirelessly to find ways for others, like themselves, to honor our U.S. Veterans. From the official groundbreaking ceremony that was held on July 4, 2015, to the Grand Opening Ceremony held on October 1, 2022, Veterans and the public have been invited to the Gardens to “Honor all who served”.
To make a Capital Campaign Pledge and/or purchase a Military ID Tag for yourself or your favorite Veteran(s), please email email@example.com; Send by US mail to PO Box 27 Langston, OK 73050; or call/text Founder/Developer Stewart A. Williams, at 405-359-8744. Cash donations can be made to Cash App: $wmveteransmg. All donations are tax-deductible.
The Memorial Day program can be viewed on a LIVE Broadcast on the Wm Conrad Veterans Memorial Gardens Facebook page.