Did you know that Claremore boasts the 2nd largest Veterans Day Parade in Northeast Oklahoma?
Did you know there is a proper way to dispose of worn American flags?
Did you know that MMS-Payne Funeral Home in Claremore is responsible for the parade and holds a flag retirement ceremony each year?
Here is how it all began and how you can be involved:
Seven years ago, the Claremore Veterans Day Parade almost became a thing of the past. It came to the attention of Ryan Payne and he knew something had to be done. Payne owns and operates MMS-Payne Funeral Home & Cremation Service.
“We knew the parade was suffering and needed help,” said Payne.
Payne established a committee to plan and grow the parade. He also became the lone sponsor.
Frank Friedemann, an employee at MMS-Payne, serves on the committee.
“It is a great time to bring grade school kids out to see how we respect both our veterans and our country,” Friedemann said.
Last year, there were more than 100 entrants in the parade! The flag ceremony followed at the Rogers Country Courthouse.
“We take in worn flags all year long and properly dispose of them by burning them at our crematorium in Inola. People might have an old flag in their garage but they don’t want to throw it out with the trash. Last year we burned over 1,000 flags and spread the ashes over veterans’ graves in Chelsea, Inola and Claremore.”
You can bring in worn flags any time during regular business hours to the MMS-Payne Funeral Home at 102 W. 5th Street.
It looks like these two Claremore traditions are safe and in good hands.
The parade will begin at 11:11 on 11/11. Next Wednesday, Veterans Day.
The Rogers County Courthouse will be the end point for the parade and the location of the flag ceremony again this year.
-by Travis Peck