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Oklahoma's Own Volunteers Make Tributes To Fallen Heroes

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Volunteers at Tulsa Wood Arts making triangular flag cases for the family of the fallen. Volunteers at Tulsa Wood Arts making triangular flag cases for the family of the fallen.
Robert Showler accepted a flag case on behalf of his son Kyle. Robert Showler accepted a flag case on behalf of his son Kyle.
Woodworkers made memorial flag cases for fallen Oklahoma National Guard soldiers. Woodworkers made memorial flag cases for fallen Oklahoma National Guard soldiers.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A retired Marine walking through one of our big box stores noticed those triangle-shaped memorial flag cases were made in China. Not good enough he said, at least not for Oklahoma's fallen National Guard soldiers.

So he gathered some volunteers to create something more fitting.

On Tuesday, the families of those heroes began getting a memorial made in Oklahoma.

The project began months ago: volunteers at Tulsa Wood Arts making triangular flag cases for Oklahoma's fallen National Guard soldiers.

Robert and Tammy Showler accepted a case for his son Kyle. He was the first Oklahoma National Guard soldier to be killed in action since the Korean War. He died in Iraq in May of 2004.

"It's humbling; it's overwhelming that people still remember all these kids that gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Robert Showler.

It's still very difficult.

"Christmases, Thanksgivings - all those holidays were a time when you used to look forward," said Robert Showler. "Now it's a time - it's sad."

Not now, not yet anyway.

Jim Spangler is a retired Marine. He thought a flag case hand-made in Oklahoma was the proper way to honor these fallen heroes.

"We're trying to capture the sacrifice of one person, or one family," Spangler said.

He and 10 or 12 other volunteers worked a couple of weekends . The wood and glass for the cases were donated, and the Tulsa Woods Arts school donated the space and the tools to get the project completed.

"We have 19 soldiers that have been killed in action overseas from the Oklahoma National Guard," said Shannon Lucas.

Lucas is with the Army's Survivor Outreach Services. She will get the cases to those 19 families on behalf of the volunteers who made them.

"What we hope is they know that someone out here still cares," said Jim Spangler, a retired U.S. Marine.

"It's good that people still remember what they did for our country," said Robert Showler, who accepted a flag case on behalf of his son Kyle.

As long as folks like Jim Spangler and these other volunteers are around, forgetting is not an option.

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