By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Other | Issue: November 2014
Veterans on motorcycles join in each year to celebrate Veterans Day during Claremore’s annual parade, which is the second largest in northeastern Oklahoma.
Continuing a tradition that started seven years ago, MMS-Payne Funeral Home is once again sponsoring Claremore’s annual Veterans Day parade, which will start promptly at 11:11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 11. The parade line-up starts at the Claremore Expo Center and winds its way down Will Rogers Boulevard to the downtown Gazebo near First Baptist Church.
According to Frank Friedemann, director of family services at MMS-Payne, “Claremore’s Veterans Day parade is the second largest in northeastern Oklahoma. Our parade has grown since its beginning. We started with a 30-minute parade, but it now runs about an hour and 15 minutes.”
Assisting the funeral home with the salute to veterans are the Claremore High School ROTC, JM Davis Gun Museum, VFW, American Legion and the DAV. “We work with these groups to organize the event,” he says. Area high school bands are also invited to participate, and prizes, sponsored by the funeral home, are awarded.
Following the parade, a flag retirement ceremony will be held in front of the Rogers County Courthouse. “We retire 800 to 1,000 flags each year,” says Ryan Payne, funeral director. “People will drop off their old and worn-out flags all year round at one of our three funeral homes in Claremore, Chelsea or Inola.”
Ashes from the burned flags are then scattered on the graves of Rogers County veterans.
Another highlight of this year’s parade will be a ceremony, returning the Eternal Flame that had been relocated to the VFW until the new courthouse parking lot was completed. “We will have members of the ROTC carrying the flame from its temporary site at the VFW to the courthouse,” Friedemann adds.
MMS-Payne goes above and beyond, offering a long list of family services to veterans and their survivors. In addition to obtaining copies of death certificates and making copies of dated obituary notices and newspaper articles as well as other important documents, funeral home employees help file life insurance policy claims and notify Social Security of death, locate military records and file for veterans benefits. While this is just a partial list of the services offered, Payne points out that they have even assisted those who never received their benefits after the death of a loved one. “Even if the individual did not receive benefits at the time of their loved one’s passing, we can still help them at no cost,” he adds. Payne says they’ve even helped those who did not use their business for the funeral service. In addition, the funeral home is glad to assist veterans’ loved ones by obtaining burial benefits, grave markers, flag, and a Presidential Memorial certificate.
“I assisted a woman who came in a year after her husband – a veteran – had passed on. We helped her get the headstone for his grave. We will do anything to help our veterans and honor their military service.”
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After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.