The Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation is now enlisting young people throughout the state to honor veterans through a special program known as Honors Campaigns. These are community-based efforts to recognize local military veterans that are organized and managed by middle- and high-school students. Supported by the Oklahoma Military Heritage Foundation through its Ambassador program, an individual student, or a group such as a classroom or a club, plans and carries the campaign through to its completion. Oklahoma’s 4-H Program has adopted the Honors Campaigns effort as part of its Citizenship and Leadership endeavors for members. Participating students receive varying degrees of recognition depending upon their involvement.
The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma CareerTech Centers have partnered together to provide a student competition that documents Oklahoma veterans service in high quality short films. Secondary and post-secondary students throughout the state will join with veterans to film and produce their military stories for entry into the Veterans Film Competition.
Five- to seven-minute edited versions of the interviews will appear on YouTube and the Oklahoma Veterans Film Competition internet site, but family members will receive all of the interview materials for their veteran. “From my experience, the family members will have never heard very much about their veteran’s service for our country, until now,” noted retired Army Colonel Robert Cox, OKMHF competition organizer.
The OKMHF will recognize the winners and award cash prizes. Plans call for the contest to continue in future years. The 2021 motto for the effort is “If they don’t tell their story, it never happened!” The Veterans Film Competition is part of the ongoing OKMHF Honors Campaigns program.
The following resources provide complete information about the program, current and past campaigns, stories about participating veterans and students, plus publications and digital forms to download, may be found online at okhonorscampaigns.org. This is the site to submit photos and stories about your campaign, and of course to see what others are doing. Student Junior Ambassadors are sought to not only work on local campaigns, but to help the Honors Campaign Committee with activities such as book production, publicity, social media, and the information Web site.
You may recognize and tell the unique story of a military veteran in your community who was honorably discharged from a US military service and is willing to be interviewed and participate in the Honors Campaign effort. Start by nominating him or her for inclusion in Who’s Who Among Oklahoma Veterans. Interviews of Who's Who inductees will be placed in the Oklahoma Historical Society History Center archives as well as on the the Who's Who site. You should arrange for either a local event to present the award(s), or participation in an Honors Trip event. A nomination packet may be found online through the Honors Campaigns Site.