2015 Claremore Veterans Day committee are (Left to right); Bill Richey; Commander with Claremore’s J.R. Hooper Memorial VFW; Candy Richey; President VFW Auxiliary; seated Frank Friedemann; Director of Family Services of MMS-Payne Funeral Homes, Wayne McCombs, director of the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum and Murray Estabrook, commander of the Claremore High School Junior Navy R.O.T.C. unit.
The 11th annual Claremore Veterans Day parade and activities were successful, thanks to the Veterans Day committee.
“The committee works hard preparing several months before Veterans Day”, said parade sponsor Ryan Payne of MMS-Payne Funeral Service. “We are very proud to be the title sponsor. But we couldn’t do it without the planning and work of every committee member. This parade is second only to the Tulsa parade in size and scope.”
This year the parade, which lasted just under an hour honored Cherokee Veterans, with U.S. Navy Veteran and Cherokee Nation community leader Charlie Soap as Grand Marshal. Many Cherokee Veterans marched in support of Soap and many more veterans marched or were on floats in the parade. 35 Veterans and their volunteers and staff from the Claremore Veterans Center took part in the parade.
Several radio and television personalities, elected officials, car clubs, Shriner cars and Claremore businesses were featured in the parade along with several grade schools and their students and high school bands participated. The Inola band won the prize for best band in the parade.
“It was great to see all the kids and their teachers marching in the parade waving flags and having a great time,” stated Payne. ”It was also great to see so many veterans participating. It made you feel good.”
Following the parade, the Claremore High School band and R.O.T.C. units performed a very moving and patriotic flag retirement ceremony at the first steps of the Rogers County courthouse.
Following the flag retirement ceremony, the VFW hosted a free dinner to all Veterans and their families at the post. Almost 300 people attended the dinner. It was sponsored by the Rogers County Disabled American Veterans and the Claremore American Legion, with all organizations working together to provide the meal. Ron Barnett of the Claremore Golden Corral donated many items on the menu.
The next Claremore Veterans Day parade and activities will take place Friday, November 11, 2016. The application to participate in the parade is already online on the VFW website at www.ClaremoreVFW.org .