NORMAN — Thousands of Oklahoma men and women donate their time with the U.S. military every year, and nearly just as many go without thanks.
After attending the first Veterans Day parade in 67 years in Norman in November, Aimee Rook, Groovefest Events Coordinator, said she realized many veterans have returned home over the years without any recognition from the community.
“The more I heard about that in February and then March, I just said we have to do something,” Groovefest Events Coordinator Aimee Rook said about thanking troops returning home. “We can’t just sit here and wish someone was doing something. And we can’t wait until November.”
In an effort to show gratitude, Norman Groovefest — a biannual human rights music festival — has organized a “Welcome Home Weekend.”
Instead of a spring Groovefest, band Aquarian Exposition will perform a veteran benefit concert next weekend at Sooner Theatre.
All proceeds will benefit creative arts therapy programs at Oklahoma City Veterans Center and Norman Veterans Center, as well as the Goldsby Veteran Center.
The show, presented in the spirit of healing the wounds of the past with the wisdom and insight of the present, will include displayed veteran art at Form and Function Lab, 123 E. Main St.
Supported by the City of Norman, American Legion, Firehouse Art Center, and local veterans from multiple wars, Rook said the concert is a positive way to show support for returning veterans.
“We just have to show that we care,” she said.
Rook said members of Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry will receive an official city proclamation 6 p.m. May 8 from Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal at the beginning of the city council meeting, declaring May 11 and 12 “Welcome Home Weekend.”
Rook said local businesses, community organizations and community members can show support by becoming a sponsor, making a sign at work, wearing fatigues, wearing red, white and blue, lighting a candle or display poppy flowers — symbols of remembrance for the fallen.
“I think people either don’t know what to do or don’t have any money but it doesn’t require much effort,” Rook said.
Welcome Home Weekend is looking for sponsors. Interested businesses or organizations can find more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.