Veteran with no family laid to rest at Fort Sill National Cemetery

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 12:50 PM CST
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ELGIN, Okla. (KSWO) - The southwest Oklahoma community laid to a rest a veteran with no family to bury him at the Fort Sill National Cemetery on Tuesday.

U.S. Navy veteran Kenneth Stokely may not have had any family to bury him, but the southwest Oklahoma community represented that family.

Not much is known about Stokely other than he was an Oklahoman who fought in the Vietnam war, but all the supporters at the service needed to know was that he served his country honorably.

A veteran who attended, Stephen Lewis, said the oath they take never expires.

“It’s people like these and heroes - and that’s what they are, heroes - to protect America, so that we can keep our rights and do what we do today,” Lewis said.

Lewis is also a Vietnam veteran. He found out about Stokely’s funeral on social media and started encouraging others to attend.

“I put on Facebook for people to come to honor another veteran,” Lewis said. “It doesn’t matter what service, what branch you’re in. We’re all brothers and sisters in arms.”

A veteran with the American Legion Post and VFW Post 1193, John McNeal, led the service.

He said no veteran should be buried without first being honored.

“We represent the family that either could not be here or the veteran may have outlived or may be too ill to travel,” McNeal said, “but any veteran that has served this country honorably, we want to make sure that they’re laid to rest and we’re here to celebrate that veteran’s service.”

Stokely’s service was full of members who served in all branches and veteran’s motorcycle groups.

And while Lewis said he’s sad to say goodbye to a fellow veteran, he believes heaven is gaining someone special.

“When a veteran dies, he just doesn’t die,” Lewis said. “He becomes one of God’s favorite little hell’s angels,” Lewis said.

VFW Post 1193 accepted the American flag that would have been presented to Stokely’s family upon his death.

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