Broken Arrow, D.C. Share Unique Ceremony On Memorial Day

Monday, May 28th 2018, 6:44 pm
By: Amy Avery

Many people around Green Country have been coming together to honor the fallen at Floral Haven Cemetery in Broken Arrow this Memorial Day.

They also have a traditional ceremony that you can only see one of two places in the world.

Various activities took place Monday, but one of the most notable ways they observed the holiday was with the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier replica.

“It’s very emotional at times,” said Navy veteran Jack Heindale from Claremore.  "I’ve just got a lot of sentiment and things for my fallen soldiers.  It's just touching.”

Heindale enlisted in 1953 and served in Vietnam.

Heindale brought his father, who is also a Navy veteran, to visit the replica.

“Whenever I talk to somebody, I say my whole family is military,” said Jerry Heindale.  “I had a brother that was in the Navy in World War 2.  Of course, he was 10 years older than me, and that’s probably one of the reasons I went in the Navy.”

Members of the Starbase Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol received special training from the Honor Guard at Arlington National Cemetery.  They recreate the changing of the guard every half hour.

Many veterans who have seen the ceremony in Broken Arrow and in D.C. said it brings back a lot of memories no matter where you see it.

"We're honored to have them and it's just an amazing way for people who may never make it to Washington, D.C., to get to experience such a memorable thing," said Floral Haven General Manager Walter Still.

It takes a lot of people coming together to make the weekend happen.  Some of the younger generations of volunteers hope they will make it to the front lines someday.

“It basically gives me goosebumps because, knowing someone that has been serving and that puts their lives out there every day, that they come out here and they thank us personally for what we are doing…it feels really good,” said Civil Air Patrol member Rainee Million.

“I can’t believe how great these kids are,” said Jack Heindale.  “They didn’t waiver one bit in this heat and I think we’ve got a very bright future.”

Floral Haven does take flags throughout the year from families who would like to donate flags. 

They also say you don't have to have a family member laid to rest to have your flag flown there.  For more information, click here.