I was honored to participate in the Claremore Veterans Day parade by riding on the float with residents of the ODVA Claremore Veterans Center. The center is a quasi-nursing home for veterans in need of 24 hour care that families are not able to provide. It houses 302 residents with doctors, nurses, physical therapy room and staff, a recreation department to provide activities, and has a laundry, library, and a full service dining room. I have been honored to be accepted as a volunteer since May 8, 2015. The contingent from the center included 47 residents and 53 employees and volunteers. I was allowed to ride on the float because I am not currently able to walk the 2 mile or so route due to the effects of a severe stroke I suffered on August 19, 2014. I am recovering but still quite limited in my ability but the residents and administration graciously allow me to participate in events involving the center. Never in my life have I been involved with a better bunch of people. The quality of these people matches those I served with during my military service and those I attend church with in all respects and I am very honored and humbled to be allowed to be a small part of the organization. Some of the residents rode in their wheelchairs and were pushed by other residents, volunteers, or members of the local Boy Scout troop. The turnout by the citizens was tremendous and the enthusiasm and patriotism was both humbling and encouraging to us. Many school children lined the parade route as classes were brought by teachers and school administrators to allow them to cheer the veterans on as we passed each group. The cheers, applause, and shouts of “thank you for your service” brought tears of both personal humility and pride in my community to my eyes several times. I don’t know how many people lined the parade route but there were thousands cheering and waving flags as we passed by. In a time when the media covers and promotes the worst our society has to offer it is very encouraging to see the attitudes of people in the City of Claremore and Rogers County turn out in such numbers with such a patriotic and thankful mindset. It makes me glad I did such a little bit to serve my country. I was in the United States Army from 1968 to 1971 as a member of the 7th Special Forces Group, Airborne, another group that I was an honored to be a part of. I did so little that it is very humbling to be cheered as a part of the parade as I feel like I should be in the crowd cheering the others participating in the parade. Our nation is facing perilous days as many in politics, the media, sports, and entertainment industries seem intent on destroying the very fabric that makes this nation great. Schools, or most of them anyway, no longer teach our children about what made this nation great but the outpouring of love and respect I saw on Friday, November 11 gave me great hope for the future because I saw people from toddlers to the very old lining the street to honor men and women who spent part of their lives serving in the military. Every person who served wrote a check for an unspecified amount up to and including their lives to ensure that liberty would be preserved as a way of life in The United States of America and anywhere else in the world that liberty was threatened by brutality and tyranny. Many gave their lives in those struggles and many more succumbed to age or ill health in the last year and although not present at the parade were represented quite well by those residents who did participate. While we were at the parade the Claremore Elks Lodge put on a very nice Barbeque lunch at the center for those not able to attend the parade. I got to eat when I got back from the parade and the food was excellent. There were several groups, including kids from Oolagah schools that came to the center either on November 11 or days preceding Veterans Day to honor the residents with visits, singing, and very nice handmade “thank you” cards. It was a week that made me very proud to be a resident of Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma, and the USA. There are undoubtedly problems in the nation but nothing that can’t be overcome by honoring God, our founders, those that have sacrificed or worked so hard to preserve the nation, and each other as Americans. Sadly there are those still intent on turning this nation into a 3rd world hellhole but though they get so much media attention they are by no means more than a small minority that don’t deserve the attention they receive from the leftist “news” media. The people I have seen this past week honoring veterans are the true majority and the backbone of a great nation. I am very encouraged about the future and see America, the land of the free because of the Brave, returning to the status of “a shining city on a hill” as described by John Winthrop so many years ago. I pray that God will see what I saw this last week and bestow His gracious blessings on our nation once again. I want to take this opportunity to say “THANK YOU” to all of the people who turned out for the parade and those who worked so hard to make it a wonderful tribute and to let a bunch of old veterans feel very special.
I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.
November 12, 2016